Larkfleet Homes on Blogger

20 May 2018

Larkfleet plans new housing in Eye

We are launching a public consultation on proposals for a development of up to 280 new homes on land east of Eyebury Road, Eye, near Peterborough.

The location of the proposed new Larkfleet Homes site on land east of Eyebury Road, Eye
The proposed development would include primarily two-storey properties ranging from one to four-bedroom homes for first-time buyers and families. Some of the homes would be ‘affordable’ to assist those struggling to get onto the ‘property ladder’.

The proposals would also provide additional land to allow for an extension to Eye Primary School and provide a new access to the school. 

A letter is being distributed to local residents providing information about the proposals, along with details about a public exhibition which is being held on Tuesday 22 May, between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm at Eye Primary School, Eyebury Road, Eye, PE6 7TD.

Members of the development project team will be on hand at the exhibition to answer questions about the proposals and people will also be able to complete a feedback form with their comments.

Mark Mann, planning director at Larkfleet Homes, said: “There is both a national and local need for new homes. The site has been allocated for housing by Peterborough City Council in the submission version of its new local plan and is key to helping meet housing needs in the area.

“The new development in Eye would provide much-needed housing and we are keen to consult with local residents on these proposals. We would like to encourage people to attend the public exhibition on 22 May where they can ask questions and provide us with their feedback.”

The proposed plans are also available to view online at

People can also call 0800 975 5852 if they have any queries or e-mail

The location of the proposed new Larkfleet Homes site on land east of Eyebury Road, Eye, is outlined in red on the plan.

18 May 2018

It’s competition time! Win £100 voucher

New Homes Week photo competition #Larkfleet
It’s Fun Friday. As part of New Homes Week we have launched a competition to celebrate.

We're giving one lucky person the chance to bag themselves a voucher for notonthehighstreet worth £100!!

To enter, SHARE on our Facebook or Twitter pages a picture to show your favourite room within your new build home (any new build home, not just a Larkfleet home) before Midnight on Sunday 20th May.

You must tag #Larkfleet to enter the #competition - Good Luck!

17 May 2018

Throwback Thursday: What were new homes like in 1998?

Larkfleet Homes Throwback Thursday
Twenty years ago, the World Wide Web was still only seven years old, Google had just launched, and mobile phones still resembled bricks - and we used them to make calls. The average house price in the UK was £75,806 and annual inflation stood at 3.4 per cent.

In 1998 just nine per cent of households had internet access, compared with over 90 per cent in 2018. Just 20 per cent of households owned at least one mobile phone and there were around eight million subscribers. That figure is now greater than 95 per cent with around 90 million subscribers.

In the 1990s we were in love with quirky furniture like Japanese futons and inflatable armchairs from the US. Kitchens tended to be orange coloured pine with granite tops and walls were stencilled. Bathrooms often featured a corner bath, bedrooms featured floor to ceiling mirrors and bold floral patterns were everywhere.

The 1990s saw a range of colours from aqua marine, peach, lemon yellow and camo colours, reflecting the grunge and graffiti zeitgeist and the calming nature of zen as well-being began to increase in importance in people’s lives.

As Sunday trading laws relaxed in the 1990s and out of town shopping centres sprang up, DIY boomed. People spent more time and money on home improvement.

Our outdoor living spaces became more important to us in the 1990s. TV programmes like Changing Rooms and Ground Force became so popular that B&Q’s sales of decking increased from 5,000 to 16 million units by the end of the 1990s.

Home tech such as microwaves, DVDs and CD players increased. Computer games consoles from Sega, Sony and Nintendo were becoming ubiquitous. Apple launched the iMac in 1998 but Windows from Microsoft still dominated the burgeoning home computing market.

On the drive, cars included the Ford Fiesta, Ford Mondeo, Vectra, Astra Corsa and car of the year the Ford Focus. Peugeot launched the 206 and in the affordable luxury/executive car bracket Jaguar launched its new S-type, designed to compete with the ever-popular BMW 5 Series. Audi launched its TT coupe and roadster models while Volkswagen unveiled a new VW Golf-based version of its Beetle – still popular 20 years on.

Popular culture in the 1990s was as eclectic as ever and heavily influenced by the US. In music 1998 was the year Robbie Williams was entertaining you, Fresh Prince was getting Jiggy wit’ it and Celine Dion’s heart went on, and on and on…

On TV young adults (and some older ones) were enjoying South Park and Buffy the Vampire Slayer while children’s favourite The Wombles made a comeback. Comedy classic The Royle family debuted while soaps introduced storylines which began to challenge society rather than simply entertain. Coronation Street introduced the first transsexual character in a British soap while EastEnders’ memorable Mark Fowler HIV storyline ran on. If that wasn’t depressing enough we also watched England crash out of another World Cup Final at France ’98.

Much of what began in the late 1990s remains today in more sophisticated forms. The 1990s set the basis for what we see today in modern homes. Broadband has replaced internet dial-up in our homes. TV is on-demand and Virtual Reality assistants like Siri and Cortana help us to shop and fill our fridges and cupboards with groceries. In fact, most of us do the bulk of our shopping online now.

New homes, which began to be built in more sustainable ways in 1998, now often feature solar panels - a standard feature of new Larkfleet and Allison homes - and other energy saving features include ground and air source heat pumps.

Hybrid and electric cars such as the Toyota Prius or Tesla are likely to be seen on our driveways as electric charging points are fitted in integrated garages.

All in all, we have come a long way in 20 years – although we need to slow down and look around to realise it.

16 May 2018

Help shape the future of housebuilding during New Homes Week – you could win a Grand?

Larkfleet Homes new homes survey
This week is New Homes Week – a week-long event organised by the Home Builders’ Federation to promote the advantages of buying a new build home. Alongside other activities we are running a survey to get the thoughts and experiences of house buyers.

We are keen to hear from anyone currently searching for a new house or who has purchased a new house in the past twelve months.

Go to to take part in the survey.

Complete the survey and we will enter you into our prize draw for a chance to win £500. Agree to a follow up interview and you will be entered in a second draw to win a further £500.

The Larkfleet Homes team is always working to develop new ways to provide the best possible products and services to our customers. We want to know what house buyers really think of the housing market and what they want from housebuilders like us.

Your views will help to shape the way we meet the needs of home buyers in the future.

We have teamed up leading media organisations First Time Buyer Magazine, What House and What Mortgage to develop and deliver a comprehensive survey to find out what you, our customer, is really looking for in a new home.

The survey covers everything from the type of property people are looking to buy or have bought (whether it’s for their own use or an investment) through to topics such as location, size and energy efficiency.

It takes less than ten minutes to complete at The survey is being managed by independent marketing company OlsenMetrix Marketing and all the data collected will be anonymous.

16 May 2018

Storage solutions

New Homes Week Wednesday Wisdom storage solutions
One of the things you might be short of when you move into your new home is adequate storage for your stuff. Once you have been through your moving day checklist and decluttered you may still may still have things that at first glance you don’t appear to have room for.

This where a few creative storage solutions will come in handy.

One of the items you may have a lot of are books. They make an excellent way to decorate your living room or home office.

But how do you store all those colourful hardbacks and paperbacks. Here are few tips on things that you can do to store your books and enhance your living space at the same time:
  • Use modular shelving to create interesting patterns with your books.
  • You could buy a traditional bookcase to match your furnishings.
  • Use single shelves with imaginative bookends to keep your volumes in order.
  • If you have a lot of books with plain colour spines, colour code your books in order on the shelf so that they match the spectrum to give you rainbow of colour – red, orange, green, blue, indigo and violet.
  • Use random unused spaces to insert book shelves - like under the stairs, or even incorporate shelves into your stairs.
  • Get a free-standing three-dimensional shelf unit that you can walk around.
  • Add some interest to your living space by using shelves constructed at interesting angles.
  • Upcycle other items such as old wooden step ladders. Open them out and span shelving between the steps to create a quirky book or storage shelf.
  • Cantilever shelves make an eye-catching addition to a contemporary styled room.
  • More industrial in your tastes? How about re-using old warehouse racking?
  • Take some natural material like a small tree trunk as a centrepiece and radiate shelves in rough sawn wood from it.
It’s not just books that you will need to find storage space for. What about all your CDs and DVDs? Modern living rooms can get cluttered with books and magazines, CDs and DVDs. And TVs can take up a lot of valuable space in the room. Make the TV the focal point of the room and build a series of units around it. Moveable stands with storage space are great or – if money is no object – why not develop a bespoke solution?

If your space is open plan, use storage solutions to divide up the space into different areas.

Alcoves give you ideal space to fill in with seamless floor to ceiling shelving. You could include cupboards with sliding doors to help tidy your stuff away, out of sight. You could also use an alcove to build in a home office, an ideal space for the kids to do their homework. Fit some flush doors to hide the open shelves from view when the space is not in use.

Use every inch of space in your kitchen to maximise your storage. Use pull-out cupboards with shelves and racking or sliding doors on cupboards to make the most of the available space.
Why not investigate multipurpose cubed storage solutions available from major modular furniture and DIY retailers?

Hallways and utility rooms
Halls and utility rooms often get cluttered up with boots, shoes and coats. Why not have a look at hooks, hangers and stands. Modular solutions will help to provide a space to tidy away all those boots and shoes.

Stuck for storage space in the bedroom? Use the headboard as storage by building in drawers. In children’s rooms, use the space under the child’s bed to stow away toys and clothes. You can nestle pull-out boxes under bed spaces and use narrow shelving solutions to maximise space.

Some of the things that will take up a lot of exterior space are your bins. There seems to be a bin for everything these days. Keep them together and out of sight with a bin store.

Whatever you chose to do with your storage space, enjoy your new home!

16 May 2018

Get yourself connected!

New Homes Week internet connection broadband
One of the things you’re going to want to do when you move into your new home is to sort out your broadband. So much of what we do in our homes these days depends on a good connection. Ultrafast broadband is now a 'must have' for new home buyers. Many prospective buyers now rank it more highly than low crime levels or good transport links.

For new home buyers, high speed broadband has almost become a given now - it is like the power steering on a car - no one asks whether the car they're buying has it anymore.

More and more people are consuming ever more bandwidth - with an increasing use of streaming music services, things like Netflix, Amazon Prime and other video content.

There are several things to think about when you’re organising broadband:
  • Decide whether you want to get a bundle - a deal with one provider that combines broadband, phone and TV. They can be cheaper and will also simplify your monthly bills.
  • Compare tariffs from different providers. Use an Ofcom-approved price comparison site - they’ve been approved because they’re independent and unbiased. You’ll usually find better deals online than in shops or on the phone. Find a comparison site here []
  • Understand the quote. Sometimes you’ll be offered six or 12 months free. Make sure you check how long you’re signing up for, and how much the monthly fee will be after the free trial. Make sure you factor in any installation, line rental or connection charges.
  • Decide how you’ll pay bills and monthly rental - it’s usually cheaper to pay by direct debit.
  • Once you’ve found the right deal, sign up and contact the new provider.
  • Pay your final bill with the old provider or get a refund if you’re in credit.

16 May 2018

Moving on a budget

Wednesday Wisdom New Homes Week moving day tips
Moving to a new home can be an expensive undertaking. It can also be quite stressful. Here are some ideas for moving home on a budget and a handy checklist of things to remember to do on moving day.

Firstly, work out what it’s all going to cost. You would be surprised how the cost of moving can really mount up. You need to consider;
  • Removal costs - shop around for several different quotes.
  • Removal insurance - check that the removal firm you hire is insured. If you’re moving yourself, think about arranging insurance cover.
  • Storage costs - if you need to put items into storage between taking them out of your present home and moving them to your new one, shop around to compare prices and security arrangements.
  • Extra moving day costs - do you need to budget for extra childcare or kennels for a pet?
Do you need that?
When you're packing ready for your new home, ask yourself - do I really need to take this? We human beings tend to hoard things we feel have sentimental value but really, they are just collecting dust! Now is the ideal time to minimise your space and start afresh with less stuff in your new home.

Get moving!
Once you've chosen your removal company, arrange a visit so they can see how much you have to move and if anything requires special handling. For peace of mind ensure your chosen removal company is a member of a reputable trade association such as the British Association of Removers, the Association of Independent Movers or the National Guild of Removers and Storers.

Moving packing tips
Make sure you clearly tell the removers if your belongings are fragile as it would be such a shame to break any precious items during the move - put big, prominent labels on boxes containing fragile items. Also, make sure you label each box with the room you want it to go into and a description of its contents. This will help you and your movers know where every box belongs in your new place.

Numbering each box and keeping an inventory list in a small notebook is an effective way to keep track of what you’ve packed - and to make sure you still have everything when you unpack.
Another handy tip is to avoid mixing items from different rooms in the same box because this will just create more hassle and fuss on an already busy day. It will make your packing quicker and your unpacking a lot easier, too, to keep things together.

Arrange your bills
It is advisable to get to grips with your new household utility bills as soon as you can and remember to shop around to find the best deals for you.
Make sure you set up direct debits and keep track of what is coming into the household and what is going out.

16 May 2018

Getting your new home just right

New Homes Week Wednesday wisdom getting new home right
Getting your new home just right can be a challenge. Moving home is costly enough without having to go to the additional expense of decorating. The beauty of a newbuild home is that it is already decorated and fresh.

Housebuilders will tend to go for neutral colours like magnolia when decorating a house ready for its first occupiers. But this will give you a really great blank canvass on which to stamp your mark and let your own personality shine through to really make your new home your own.

To keep the costs down, consider the following:
  1. Pick a wall and make a feature of it. Use striking colours or wall paper. Doing this means you can leave everywhere else as is and you don’t need to spend a fortune on paint.
  2. Have a look at what you’re bringing with you. Declutter and get rid of what doesn’t fit. Consider revamping other furniture such as painting tired wooden chairs to match your new colour scheme.
  3. If you need to add furniture, consider upcycling from charity shops.
  4. If you want a pattern on the walls, use patterned rollers to add interest rather than use more expensive wallpapers.
  5. Add a touch of glamour to your magnolia walls by covering them in monochrome (black and white) photos in clean white frames. 
  6. Add a mirror to you room to make it look bigger by reflecting the surrounding colours and patterns.
  7. Doors are part of the overall décor of your home. Why not paint the door in a contrasting gloss colour to add interest to your rooms?
  8. Use your window sills to display interesting objects and ornaments.
There are lots of other things that you can do. Check out websites like Houzz and Pinterest for inspiration.

At Larkfleet Homes we have a range of décor options. If you are thinking of buying your new home from us, ask your sales adviser for details.

16 May 2018

Planning your garden on a budget

New Homes Week Wednesday Wisdom planning garden
Often, when moving into a new build home, the garden will be a blank canvass on which you can make your mark. To help you on your green-fingered journey, we have put together some helpful tips and advice that will help you to turn your outdoor space into a green haven in no time. We’ve also got some tips for those of you who are less ‘green inspired’ on how to maintain a simple-to-manage garden.

When you buy a brand-new home, as standard, the front garden is usually turfed. The back garden is left untouched except for top soil.

For some, this bare and open space might seem rather daunting, but it needn’t be. As with most new projects, preparation is key so get out the pen and paper, laptop or tablet and start researching. Ask yourself what kind of garden would you like to create? What will be the main requirement for your garden? Do you want a large planting area to show off a wonderful variety of flowers and colour? Do you want to grow your own fruit and vegetables? Maybe you want somewhere for the kids to play safely.

For a family home, most people will opt for a lawn because it creates a safe and soft place for the kids to play. If your new property only has top soil, make sure you check the quality and then you can start to turf and create a lovely lawn. Seeding is cheaper than turfing, but it takes longer to get results.

When designing your garden, think about how much sunshine it gets and at what time of the day. Make sure you do plenty of research and get good advice – experts at your local garden centre are often happy to help. You can find an abundance of magazines, blogs and websites that will both inspire and offer practical advice. The Royal Horticultural Society website is full of ideas and inspiration.

What should I plant in my garden?
You need to make sure that you choose the right plant for the right place. Some plants/flowers are much happier with a little bit of shade whereas others will quite happily flaunt their petals in the sunshine. Do you want the garden to be full of colour in spring but also have some presence of life in the autumn too? Think about what works well and when. Again, the RHS website is a reliable source of help and inspiration.

How to create a safe place for the kids in the garden
Children love playing outdoors. Your garden should give ultimate freedom for them to run around and be complete loons, but you must make sure you take precautions in your garden so that they stay safe.

Safe is a very informative website that highlights the dangers in the garden. From trampolines to barbeques, kids’ safety needs to be paramount.
How to create the perfect garden space for entertaining
If you want your garden to be an extension of your home, entertaining al fresco will be at the top of your garden priority list. There is a fantastic choice of garden furniture and accessories to suit all budgets.

How to create a simple-to-manage garden
Not everyone can or will want to be out in the garden every day tendering, pruning, watering and trimming! If this is you, you will want a garden that can still be enjoyed but with little maintenance.
If this is the case, you are best having a nice lawn with a few plants that require little water so that you don’t have to be out there daily during the summer months. Hardy evergreens, once established, will require little care.

15 May 2018

Take our New Homes Week poll

Larkfleet Homes New Homes Week Facebook poll
As part of New Homes Week we are conducting a poll to find out exactly why it is people like you prefer to buy a new home rather than an older home.

To take part in the poll visit our Facebook.

There are many reasons why it is better to buy a new home than an older previously occupied home. Here are just a few of them:
  • A fresh start - A new home is fresh, bright and clean, untouched by previous owners, it provides a blank canvass on which to stamp your own style and personality from day one.
  • The price is right - Most house builders price their homes to sell swiftly and may offer generous incentives and help with moving costs to provide unbeatable value for money.
  • Greener and cheaper - Today’s new homes are built to the latest environmental standards, are more energy efficient than older homes and could reduce utility bills by more than £500 a year.
  • Peace of mind - The quality of house building construction and service has grown significantly in recent years. Many house builders provide a comprehensive customer-care service and added peace of mind is provided by the 10-year warranty issued by organisations such as the National House-Building Council.
Our poll will hopefully demonstrate the many benefits of buying a new home and highlight the most popular.

We will tally the results at the end of the week and publish the results on our blog and on social media.

Make your views count. Take our Facebook poll today.

14 May 2018

New Homes Week Meet the Team Monday - Behind the scenes at Larkfleet Homes

Karl Hick Helen Hick New Homes Week Meet the Team
As part of New Homes Week we are inviting you to meet the Larkfleet Homes team.

There are two things about Larkfleet Homes that you might notice immediately.

One is the 'public face' of Larkfleet Homes, our CEO Karl Hick, and the other is our high quality new homes in locations in the East Midlands, East Anglia, the South West of England and Scotland.

While it is fair to say that Karl is the driving force that helps us deliver our developments he is supported behind the scenes. Firstly, there is Karl’s wife and joint MD Helen Hick (pictured above with Karl outside our HQ, Larkfleet House).

Then there is a small army of staff including architects and planners, construction experts and contractors, craftsmen and trades people from across the industry, site managers, sales people and admin staff. In fact, Larkfleet Homes currently employs more than 100 full time staff. And we support many times more jobs than that through our contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers.

It’s the staff and the 'supply chain' who make Larkfleet Homes tick and who deliver the quality new homes that people have come to expect. It really is a team effort.

Architects and planners - Larkfleet designs its developments carefully. Planning, landscaping and the built environment are all carefully considered. There is full submission to the local council of all drawings and documents relating to the development prior to commencement on site and there are several pre-commencement meetings.

Site managers –  each Larkfleet Homes site is overseen by a site manager. He or she has responsibility for everything from health and safety and ensuring that the roads are kept clean to liaising between contractors and customers as new homeowners take possession of their new property.

Contractors, subcontractors and tradesmen – these are the guys and girls who build your new Larkfleet home. Highly skilled bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, plasterers, painters and decorators and tilers and roofers work together to bring each new home to completion from foundations and groundworks to topping off the roof.

Sales staff – once the houses are ready to be occupied (or, more often, before they are ready as people increasingly buy 'off plan') they need to be sold. That’s where our sales teams come into the frame. Our director of sales oversees the team of sales executives who liaise with our customers to deliver the best possible levels of service.

We aim to assist our customers with the purchase of their new homes in every way that we possibly can.

For example, Mrs Allen, whose son has autism, told us: “Larkfleet provided a fantastic service. The whole team was really accommodating to Jack’s needs. There was also a small snagging list which was dealt with very quickly and efficiently. Each of the contractors was very understanding of Jack’s autism and very respectful of his needs. They did everything they could to help him stay settled throughout.”

Admin staff – keeping everything running smoothly we have our admin staff who help to ensure that everything is in its place and there’s a place for everything. From accounting to personnel there is a small army of unseen (by the customer) individuals without whom nothing much would happen.

Marketing - last, but not least, we have the teams behind our marketing activities including web designers, graphic designers, social media experts, copywriters and marketers who present our wares to the public – all overseen by our director of marketing.

It’s like the rolling credits at the end of a blockbuster movie. All these people are working hard to get you into your dream home - a large group of people in distinct roles all working together as part of a team to deliver the best possible product.

What better reason do you need to buy new? We’ll make your dream a reality.

12 May 2018

Sunny weather drew crowds to the Lincolnshire Residential Property Show

Larkfleet Homes Lincolnshire Residential Property Show
We had a great time at the Lincolnshire Residential Property Show over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Crowds flocked to the event to find out how to give their home a makeover, get their feet on the first rung of the property ladder, buy and sell a home.

As well as enjoying the great weather there were plenty of exhibitors to hold the interest. A Kids’ Zone kept the young people happy while the grown-ups toured the show and listened to experts offering advice about all things home buying.

A packed seminar programme included a step-by-step guide on buying and selling property, advice on Help to Buy and mortgages, a seminar on home security and an interesting seminar on the implications of the upcoming GDPR regulations for landlords.

We were pleased to support the show. Along with our sister company Allison Homes we are building high quality new homes throughout Lincolnshire and our head office is in Bourne. We are proud of all things Lincolnshire – especially when it comes to helping people find their dream home in the county.

This show was a great success and we are looking forward to taking part again next year.

11 May 2018

The peace of mind of buying a new home

Buying new home peace of mind New Homes Week
You can’t beat the peace of mind you get when you buy a new home, the peace of mind that you don’t get when you buy an older home.

You can be confident that you’re doing your bit for the planet with the added peace of mind that you are living in a safe, secure home.

Sustainable living – Many new homes come with energy-efficient heating systems, solar power, excellent insulation and double glazing as standard.

Incentives – Many housebuilders offer great incentives for their new builds. Government-backed schemes such as Help to Buy are readily available on many new developments.

Security – New homes will have better locks than older buildings and often come with security alarms and lighting. Fire safety is also improved by using fire retardant materials and fitting smoke alarms.

Warranties – New build properties come with insurance backed warranties from the National Home Building Council or Local Authority Building Control. This gives you added peace of mind that you won’t be hit with unexpected bills for repairs.

Relax – you won’t have to worry about DIY or maintenance, so you can enjoy your weekends without having to worry about repairs.

We will be promoting the benefits of buying a newbuild home during New Homes Week next week. Organised by the Home Builders Federation, the week will give you plenty of food for thought if you are thinking about buying a new home. Check back regularly for buying tips and advice, polls and competitions.

To find out even more about buying a new home in Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland or further afield take a look at our website.

08 May 2018

A £100 shopping voucher up for grabs during New Homes Week

Next week is New Homes Week and the team at Larkfleet Homes is pulling out the stops to make it a special week for our customers. The event is backed by the Home Builders’ Federation, an industry body of which we are members.

New Homes Week is the chance for you to find out more about the massive benefits that buying a new build home gives you.

These benefits range from the superb finishing touches and quality specifications, to the many excellent deals and offers house builders can offer you, including a 10-year warranty as standard. The peace of mind you get when buying a new build home is unrivalled.

And don’t forget the hugely popular Help to Buy equity loan scheme and the new Help to Buy ISA, that could be the difference between being able to afford your own home and renting for another year or more.

We will be running a series of themed days throughout the week. Visit our website and social media and you could scoop yourself £100 in shopping vouchers.

Here’s a taste of what’s going on:

On Tuesday we will be conducting a social media poll on ‘New’ versus ‘Old’. The results of the poll will be totted up at the end of the week and we will report the findings here so watch this space!

We have come up with our top five home ownership tips and we will be publishing them as part of our Wednesday Wisdom activity.

Curious about what home buying was like 20 years ago compared with today? On Throwback Thursday we will be comparing the consumer trends of 1998 with those of today. We will also publish photos of old Larkfleet Homes developments to show how they have stood the test of time.

On Fun Friday, share a picture of your favourite part of your new build home! We are offering a £100 Not On The High Street voucher as a prize for the best one.

Keep checking our social media, blogs and website throughout the week. There could some other surprises in store.

04 May 2018

More local authority recognition for Larkfleet team

East Midlands Building Excellence Awards Larkfleet Homes
We have been shortlisted for a building excellence award for the second time in a week. We had already been shortlisted for the Local Authority Building Control East Anglia Building Excellence Awards in the category Best Low Volume New Housing Development for our Thorney Meadows development at Thorney near Peterborough.

Now we have been shortlisted for the best change of use of an existing building or conversion in the East Midlands Building Excellence Awards for our Langham Barns development at Barleythorpe near Oakham in Rutland.

This is great news for us because conversions and refurbishments are not something that the team at Larkfleet Homes normally gets involved with.

Judges were impressed by the way in which the site incorporates old and new, combining traditional building methods with state-of-the-art fixtures and fittings. It is a very subtle addition to the landscape, being glimpsed over an existing well-established hedge and an existing stone wall retained from a previously removed barn.

Langham Barns is an exclusive development of four contemporary bungalows, one of which is the original barn that has been restored.

The development was built to the highest standard of traditional craftsmanship with outstanding attention to detail. Designed with modern living in mind, the bungalows are spacious and well laid out, with top-of-the range fittings and fixtures.

Building control for all the homes on this site was provided by Rutland Council with which we have a long-standing working relationship within the town of Oakham. All the homes are fully compliant with Building Regulations. They also meet the requirements of the Design Code for Oakham North which on this site was monitored and enforced by Rutland County Council.

All the existing features of the original barn were retained in the conversion. It was in serious disrepair when we began work. The planning permission stated that the features had to be retained and then a new home had to be created that complied with current standards and building regulations.

The existing building featured high-arched windows which were reconstructed and made safe. They were almost identical to what had been in place previously. The conversion then set the design criteria for the three new builds. The main constraint on the development was the fact that this was a small and compact site. There were existing barns on the site. One was to be retained as a conversion and the others were to be demolished and removed.

The designs of the new properties were based on the existing barn style to give a feeling of similarity across the site. Materials closely matching the original construction materials were used. The planners were specific about this point – there was reconstituted dressed stone for the walls and Welsh slate for the roofs.

In terms of layout there were restrictions on the distance to the boundary lines between the properties to avoid issues with overlooking. We wanted to avoid a gap between the properties. Although all the properties are detached they are joined by roof flyovers to make the whole development look like a traditional farm yard.

As a ‘volume housebuilder’, restoration projects are unusual for us. A barn conversion is something that we don’t normally get involved in, so this was very much a ‘one-off’. We reckon it’s award-winning so watch this space!

03 May 2018

Looking for new homebuyer advice? Visit Larkfleet at the Lincolnshire Residential Property Show

Here is a quick reminder, if one was needed, that we’ll be at the Lincolnshire Residential Property Show this coming Sunday.

The show has been devised to showcase the county's booming residential property sector.

If you are looking to buy, sell, move, rent, improve or renovate there will be an expert on hand to give you advice.

It's free-to-attend. There will be stands ranging from estate agents, kitchen and bathroom suppliers, furniture and homeware retailers, interior designers, financial advisors, utility companies and solicitors. There will also be a series of seminars throughout the day from industry experts.

If you get hungry you can have a bite to eat in the café and the children can have fun in the dedicated kids’ zone while you explore the show.

The team from Larkfleet will be on hand to give you advice on buying a new home and what options are available to help you into the house of your dreams.

The Home Show is open from 10am - 4pm on Sunday 6 May at the Epic Exhibition Centre on the Lincolnshire Showground, just south of Lincoln on the A15.

See you there!

02 May 2018

Hot summer design trends for your home

Summer decor trends 2018Hopefully we are in for a long hot summer. The indications are favourable, but you never know with the vagaries of the British climate.

None-the-less, hope springs eternal in the human heart and the Larkfleet team is looking forward to enjoying some summer sun. Now that spring has finally arrived we have trawled the web for some of the hottest design trends to help your summer sizzle.

Go totally tropical

You may want to make the most of your outdoor space. Take linen table cloths of contrasting bright colours and layer them. Accessorize with bold tropical prints and tableware with darker shades. Make sure you add a splash of gold to the colour scheme.

Be bold with your interior colours. Use big, bold pop art primary colours in carpets, throws and cushions.

Bring a feeling of decadent sophistication to your décor. Use gold detailing on door furniture. Add some gold lamps and picture frames to really brighten things up – after all, gold is the colour of the sun.

The 1970s seem to be making a comeback – remember the heatwave of 1976? No, neither do we. But pastel colours, inky blues, muted earth colours and geometric shapes are all making a comeback.

And bring the outside indoors with plenty of leafy house plants.

Be bold with your textures. Look at naturally toned berber carpets and macramé cushions and throws. Make your living spaces light and airy.

There is plenty of food for thought on the Houzz website.

28 Apr 2018

Larkfleet Homes is in for another building award

LABC East Anglia Building Excellence Awards Larkfleet Homes Thriney Meadows
Great news! We have been shortlisted for another award. This one is for the Local Authority Building Control East Anglia Building Excellence Awards.

We're shortlisted in the category Best Low Volume New Housing Development for our Thorney Meadows development at Thorney near Peterborough.

Competition has been stronger than ever this year, so just being shortlisted for the award is a great accomplishment in itself.

The judges were impressed by the excellent partnership that we have forged with Peterborough City Council. Between us we have developed an efficient and effective process that minimises problems and deals swiftly with any that arise.

Thorney Meadows is a development of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5-bedroom new homes located just eight miles outside the vibrant and growing city of Peterborough. Set at the heart of the village, Thorney Meadows offers 14 exclusive property types delivered in three phases. Phases one and two were completed in December 2017. The final few properties of phase three are nearing completion. These new homes in Thorney will appeal to people seeking stylish but affordable living in a new family home.

The design principle adopted for the dwellings was to reflect the form and detailing of newer residential developments adjoining the site. Consultation on the Building Regulations was carried out with Peterborough City Council Building Control Officer Sam Thorp and the Local Authority Building Control warranty inspector Andrew Devitt. His recommendations have been implemented where required.

Building regulations have been carefully followed throughout the development, based on consultation with the council and the warranty provider.

This development is well-designed, helps to meet the needs for residents for car parking provision and public areas in an innovative way, and is fully compliant with Building Regulations and the local design code. Delivery is on schedule and on budget.

This was achieved in part because of the excellent partnership between Larkfleet Homes and Peterborough City Council which have developed an efficient and effective process that minimises problems and deals swiftly with any that arise.

It is such a productive working arrangement that it has been extended beyond the Peterborough City council area – we now use the city council building control team to provide this service on sites in adjacent local authority areas.

Now, we are currently seeking ‘type approval’ for many of our standard housing designs which will expedite future approvals.

If we win this we go forward to the grand finals held in London in November where we go up against housebuilders from across the UK.

Wish us luck!

25 Apr 2018

Larkfleet Homes South West securing the future of construction in the region

CITB work experience student at Larkfleet Homes South West
The team at our sister company Larkfleet Homes South West is forging new links with the community by creating new educational opportunities for local students dreaming of a future in the construction industry.

The company has just taken on a local student in an apprenticeship work experience placement.

The placement is part of a scheme run by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)  and Bridgwater & Taunton College.

The student, Courtney Graham who is known as 'CJ', continued with his college work experience module of 30 hours and the CITB Apprenticeship Industry work experience program of 10 full days of work. CJ went through a full programme of training and real-world tasks, which included a formal interview in addition to commercial and design work set by the team.

Commercial manager Steve Ramsden says: "It was great having CJ as part of the team for the duration of the placement. This was the first time he had worked in an office environment. The experience was a positive one and we hope he will be able to apply what he has learned to his ongoing studies."

CJ told us: “All the things I did and learned about while I was working at Larkfleet were incredibly helpful on my course.

“I have already applied some of the things I have learnt to my course which has benefitted me greatly. I am surprised I was able to do this since I hadn’t worked in the company too long.”

Steve says it was great to see CJ develop in confidence over the duration of the scheme and to be able to offer a local lad a positive experience of the construction industry.

Larkfleet Homes South West will continue to engage with the CITB and Bridgwater & Taunton College to offer a similar scheme to other students in the future.

It’s great news for Larkfleet Homes and for the future of housebuilding in the South West!

25 Apr 2018

Spotlight on safety during family safety Week

This week (23-27 April) is Family Safety Week. It’s a week of awareness activities promoted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

According to RoSPA, accidents are the biggest killer of children and young people. Every week at least one child under the age of five is killed because of an accident.

We are very safety conscious at Larkfleet Homes. Your happiness and safety in your new home is important to us. That’s why we have pulled together some simple tips for things that you can do to keep your home as safe as possible for your kids.

There are five common areas of safety concern that affect children: household poisoning, choking, falls, bath time and bed time.
Poisoning –
  • Keep all household chemicals – including liquid laundry capsules – out of the sight and reach of children, preferably high up in a locked cupboard.
  • Use cupboard locks to keep small children away from potentially dangerous products.
  • Always store household cleaning chemicals in their original containers.
  • Replace lids and put all products away immediately after use.
  • Dispose of unwanted household cleaning products safely.
  • Bedtime can also be medicine time for poorly little ones. Lock it away afterwards so it’s not in reach - even if it does have a child-resistant cap.
  • Be aware of adult medicine too. Tablets in your handbag can be tempting for an inquisitive toddler.
  • Keep all medication out of reach, preferably in a locked cupboard.
  • Common garden chemicals, such as slug pellets, solvents, paint or plant food, can all be deadly if swallowed by children. Be sure to put away all chemicals when you’ve finished with them. A locked shed is the safest place.
  • Some garden plants, such as bright red yew berries, laburnum pods and foxgloves, are especially attractive to small children. They’re also incredibly toxic, possibly leading to death. Always read the label carefully if you’re buying new plants. If you’re unsure about the existing plants in your garden, visit a flower shop or garden centre for more advice.
  • Also look out for alcohol, raw meat and animal faeces, especially cat and dog poo.

Choking –

Choking is a leading cause of death for children under the age of three. Make sure you –
  • Always cut up food - Babies and young children can choke on small, sticky or slippery foods. Always cut foods like tomatoes, grapes and blackberries into quarters. Make sure sausages are cut into very small pieces.
  • Keep small objects out of little hands - Babies and toddlers examine things around them by putting them in their mouths. Keep surfaces clear of small toys like building bricks and marbles, and always clean up after playing, especially if you have older children.
  • Sit them down to eat - Children are more likely to choke if they slip or trip while eating. Make sure children sit down to eat and drink, and not lie down, walk or run.
  • Stay within arm’s reach - Always supervise babies and young children.

Falls –

Falls are on of the most common accidents in the home. While it’s not always possible to stop them, you can take steps to help prevent them:
  • Never place furniture near windows, especially in bedrooms. It’s amazing what toddlers can use as a ladder.
  • Make sure all upstairs windows have a window restrictor fitted. This allows windows to open enough to allow fresh air in, but not children out.
  • Keep stairs free from clutter that could cause you or your little one to slip.
  • Fit wall mounted safety gates at the top AND bottom of the stairs.
  • Stairs should be carefully maintained. 
  • Damaged or worn carpet should be repaired or removed.
  • Make sure balustrades are strong and do not have any footholds for climbing stairs should always be well lit.
  • Never leave babies unattended on raised surfaces.
  • Do not place baby bouncers on raised surfaces - they could fall off with the movement of the baby.
  • Always change nappies on the floor, rather than on a high table top or sofa.
  • Always use a securely fitted five-point harness in a pram, pushchair or highchair.
  • Keep garden play equipment like swings, slides and climbing frames well-maintained.

Bath time –

Although bath time can be a fun activity, accidents can happen. It’s important to take a few simple steps to keep your little people safe.
  • Children’s skin is thinner than adults so they’re more at risk of scalds from hot water. When filling a bath, run cold water first and then add hot water afterwards. Mix the water well to make sure there aren't any hot spots which could scald your child.
  • As the temperature can change quickly, put your little one in the bath only once you’ve finished running it and checked the temperature. (It’s true that you’re more likely to feel if it’s too hot if you use your elbow).
  • A thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) controls the temperature of water as it comes into the bath so that it’s hot enough to enjoy a good soak, but not hot enough to scald. If you don’t already have one, you might want to think about getting one fitted.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of your little one when they’re in the bath. Wet soapy babies are slippery. If they slide down, or roll over, they can’t always right themselves, and you won’t always hear them trying. So even if the phone rings, or the doorbell goes, stay where you can see them.
  • Baby bath seats might look helpful, but by leaving your hands free they can provide a false sense of security. As babies can drown quickly, quietly, and in only a few centimetres of water, you’re better off without one – supervision really is key.
  • Energetic toddlers and wet, slippy baths don’t go well together! A non-slip bath mat, or stickers, can help avoid a nasty fall.
  • Remember, when it comes to dangerous medicines, cosmetics and cleaning products, take action today, put them away - high up or in a cabinet equipped with a safety lock.
Bed time –

Taking a few simple steps can ensure that your child’s bedroom is a safe and comfortable place to sleep.
  • Children can easily get tangled up in dangling blind cords, which can choke them. Don’t use blinds with looped cords in a child’s bedroom. If you have blinds with cords elsewhere in your home, wrap the cords up and keep them out of reach using a “cleat”.
  • Nappy sacks, like other plastic bags, can be dangerous. Find a place for them that is not in reach.
  • If there’s a rug in your child’s room, taping down the underside can stop a fall.
  • Keep babies’ cots free from clutter like soft toys, cot bumpers and soft, pliable bedding. These can mould around a baby’s face and lead to suffocation.
  • Buy a new cot mattress, or - if using a second-hand mattress - carefully check that it's clean, dry and free from cracks or tears. It should fit the cot snugly, with no gaps.
  • Choose a cot that meets the British safety standard (BSEN716) as it will have been designed to reduce the number of accidental deaths due to suffocation and strangulation.
  • Cots with bars on all four sides can allow air to circulate freely. The bars should be vertical. If they are horizontal your baby could use them as a ladder to climb out. They should also be no more than 6.5 cm apart so your baby can’t get stuck between them.
  • Second-hand cots should be approached with caution. Those from before 1973 may contain lead-based paint. If there is a drop-side mechanism, check it works properly. Also look out for any old stickers or decorations that could come loose and become a choking hazard.
  • Babies are less able to control their temperature, so the cot shouldn’t be near a radiator or sunny window.
  • Putting babies at the bottom of the cot (so their feet touch the end) can stop them squirming down and suffocating under bedding.
  • Cot bumpers can do far more harm than good. Not only can the ribbon strangle kids, the bumper itself can be used by children to climb out of the cot. All-in-all, you’re better off without them.
  • Never use a pillow with a baby less than 12 months old, there is no benefit to baby and it could cause suffocation.
  • While we know it’s impossible to watch a child all the time, you should still never leave a baby unattended on a raised surface, such as a bed. It only takes a moment for them to roll off, and the results can be devastating.
  • Electric blankets or hot water bottles can be bad news for babies. If you are worried about the cot being too cold you could use one that is removed before the baby goes in.
  • Babies who overheat are at an increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). They can get too hot because the room is too hot, or because they have too much bedding or clothing. The ideal room temperature is between 16 and 20ºC.
  • The best way to keep babies safe when they’re sleeping is in a cot of their own. Some babies have been accidentally suffocated by their parents while co-sleeping/bed-sharing. The risk increases if you’ve been drinking alcohol, smoking or taking drugs, or if your baby was born prematurely.
  • Because of the risk of suffocation, use blankets or a lightweight sleeping bag (without a hood) for children under 12 months old, rather than a duvet or quilt.