Thursday, 29 March 2018

First time buyers pay no Stamp Duty on properties under £300,000

stamp duty first time buyer Larkfleet Homes
It’s never been a better time to be a first-time buyer in the UK – especially when it comes to Stamp Duty.

Stamp Duty (officially known as Stamp Duty Land Tax or SDLT) is a fee that house buyers have to pay on properties over a particular value.  It is calculated as a percentage of the price of the property.

Are you a first-time buyer - someone who is buying their only or main residence and has never owned a freehold or had a leasehold interest in a residential property in the UK or abroad? If so, we can let you into a little secret. The government has recently slashed the amount of Stamp Duty you have to pay.

In the Autumn 2017 Budget, Philip Hammond axed Stamp Duty on homes costing up to £300,000. Since the average cost of a house in the UK stood at £225,621 in January according to the latest government figures, and assuming you would otherwise have had to pay Stamp Duty at two per cent, you could save over £4,000 under the new system.

Think what you could do with that extra cash. You could put it towards new furniture, re-decoration, improving your garden – the list goes on.

It also means that you can afford that new build home you have been dreaming of. For example, Larkfleet Homes has an array of options perfectly suited for first-time buyers. And because there is no Stamp Duty on properties under £300,000 there is a wide choice of new homes to suit any budget.

Not only that, there are schemes available to assist you including Help to Buy. So, what’s stopping you making the move? Visit one of our developments and find out how Larkfleet Homes can help you into your dream home.

Easter weekend Armageddon

Easter weekend supermarket opening times
As the Easter Bank Holiday weekend approaches some of us less organised folks might be starting to worry about having enough supplies in. Often, we go to the supermarket and it’s like the world is about to end. Everyone and their granny is battling around the shelves stocking up on ‘essentials’.

But there’s no need to worry. Most shops are still open. And although supermarkets run limited hours and are closed on Easter Sunday – when we were young they were closed every Sunday, go figure – a little planning will help you to keep the household running smoothly should you start to run out of loo roll, baked beans or bread.

Here’s the low down on supermarket opening hours this Easter weekend:

Good Friday 7am – 10pm
Saturday 7am – 10pm
Easter Sunday CLOSED
Easter Monday 7am – 8pm

Good Friday 6am – 10pm
Saturday 6am – 10pm
Easter Sunday – CLOSED
Easter Monday – 8am – 7pm

Good Friday 7am – 10pm
Saturday 7am – 10pm
Easter Sunday – CLOSED
Easter Monday 9am – 7pm

Good Friday 7am – 10pm
Saturday 7am – 10pm
Easter Sunday CLOSED
Easter Monday 9am – 6pm

Good Friday 8am – 8pm
Saturday 7am – 9pm
Easter Sunday CLOSED
Easter Monday 8am – 6pm

Local opening times may vary a little so go online and check the times for your local store.

So, apart from limited opening on Monday, the shops are only closed for a day. Don’t panic! Just ‘keep calm and carry on’.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Get on your bike this Easter

Cycling Easter Holidays Larkfleet Homes
The Easter holidays are approaching rapidly, and the days are getting longer thanks to the long-awaited arrival of British Summer Time.

If you’re anything like some us here at Larkfleet Homes, you’re probably thinking about getting out and about for a bit of fresh air and exercise.

But what can you do with all the family during the holidays to enjoy the great outdoors, and get the benefit of exercise at the same time, without breaking the bank?

Cycling is one answer. Experts are agreed that there are significant health benefits attached to cycling. And it’s an activity that the whole family can enjoy. Here are just a few of the benefits of cycling:

Well being – There are many ways that physical activity can boost your mood. Adrenalin and endorphins released by exercise combine to make you feel good and getting out on your bike is a great way to explore your area and enjoy the views.

Weight loss – Cycling can burn between 400 and 1,000 calories an hour depending on the amount of effort you put in and your weight. Doing more will burn more and if you eat well and sleep well you should lose weight.

Boosts the immune system – Cycling can help promote healthy lungs and cuts the risk of heart disease and cancer. It’s low-impact so the risk of injury is lower than for running or other high-impact aerobic exercise. The best way to build your cardiovascular fitness on the bike is to ride for at least 150 minutes every week.

For example, you could cycle to work a few days a week, or do a couple of shorter rides during the week with a longer ride at the weekend. You'll soon feel the benefits.

In addition to all the health benefits and the opportunity to have some quality time together as a family, cycling is also kind to the environment. And it needn’t cost the earth. Most of us have a got a few bikes in the shed or hiding in the back of the garage.

Just make sure you check your bikes for safety before you pedal off. Check the tyres, brakes, handlebars and steering. Make sure the chain, gears and pedals are working smoothly. You don’t need to spend a fortune but at the very least make sure you wear a helmet.

Stuck for somewhere to go on your bike? There lots of places to cycle around Rutland and Peterborough. Check out the Green Wheel, which has cycle routes that take in the countryside, back roads and lanes around Peterborough and Stamford and link up with national cycle routes if you want to venture further afield.

Don’t fancy riding on the roads? Explore the off-road cycle routes in country parks like Ferry Meadows in Peterborough or Rutland Water. The beauty of riding in parks is that you're never too far from a cafe for coffee, cake or icecream!

Whatever you decide to do, have a great time!

Friday, 23 March 2018

Getting enough sleep?

Sleep health
According to a recently published book called Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, losing sleep can be linked to several fatal diseases.

The professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California argues that sleep deprivation is as bad for us as smoking or drinking too much.

The bare minimum we need is seven hours’ uninterrupted sleep a night, Professor Walker says.

So, how do we ensure we are getting enough sleep, apart from going to bed early enough?

The first thing to do is to make sure your bed is adequate. You may not realise it but an uncomfortable, unsupportive bed makes a difference to how well you sleep. According to research replacing an uncomfortable bed with a new bed was associated with an increase of 42 minutes sleep – who wouldn’t want that?

And according to other research a 10-year old bed will have deteriorated by as much as 70 per cent from its new state. Not only that; Ohio State University experts report that a typical used mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million dust mites inside it.

The National Bed Federation recommends that we should think about replacing our beds every seven years.

When you have sorted out your bed you need a room to put it in. Creating the perfect bedroom will help you to get a solid amount of shut eye and have plenty of health benefits.

  • Choose a neutral colour palette to aid restfulness.
  • Keep the room decluttered.
  • Make lighting low and subdued – have a decent quality bedside light for enough illumination to read by.
  • Use calming essential oils to create the right aromas. Lavender oil is thought help you fall asleep faster.
  • Don’t have the room too hot or too stuffy. Keep the room cool and open a window to circulate fresh air.
  • Make the room your personal sanctuary. Here are some ideas for decorating your bedroom. 

When you have the perfect room remember the adage - "Early to bed, early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise".

Good night!

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Larkfleet Homes nominated for another prestigious industry award

Larkfleet Homes Resi Awards
There’s a chance we may have to clear some more space in the awards cabinet - because we’re delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for another prestigious house building award.

This time it’s the Resi Awards Small Developer of the Year. According to the organisers there were a record number of entries so we’re really pleased that we achieved a spot on the shortlist.

We’ll find out if we win at a ceremony in at Grosvenor House, London, on 16 May.

It’s great news. We were able to demonstrate to the judges our innovation, vision and boldness and how our philosophy has led to significant development activity and sales over the past year.

There have been a few challenges to overcome along the way but we have achieved strong financial performance.

Congratulations to the whole Larkfleet Homes team. Let’s hope it’s enough to impress the judges and that we walk away with a gong in May.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Public exhibition in Sawtry today

We're looking forward to seeing lots of local residents when we launch a public consultation in Sawtry this evening about plans for a development of around 350 new homes on land off Glatton Road, Sawtry.

Plan for new Larkfleet Homes development in Sawtry
The proposed development would include a mixture of one and two-storey properties ranging from one to four-bedroom homes and a number of bungalows. The homes would be designed to meet the needs of a range of people from first-time buyers to families. Some of the homes would be ‘affordable’ to assist those struggling to get onto the ‘property ladder’.

The proposal also includes space for new community facilities as well as areas of public open space, including play areas for children.

We are holding a public exhibition of the proposals this evening (Monday 19 March 2018) between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm at Sawtry Village Academy Library, Fen Lane, Sawtry, PE28 5TH. If you live in Sawtry or nearby, please do come along!

Members of the development project team will be on hand at the exhibition to answer questions about the proposals. Feedback forms will also be available to allow people to leave their comments and ideas.

David Morris, our senior land manager, said: “The new development in Sawtry would provide much-needed housing and space for new community facilities which will benefit new and existing residents.

“We are keen to work with the local community to try and help address existing issues such as constrained community facilities and provisions for the young community in Sawtry village. The opportunity for input from the local community is an important part of the planning process and I would like to encourage people to attend the public exhibition where they can ask questions and provide us with their feedback.”

The proposed plans are also available to view online at

Our illustration shows the location of the proposed new Larkfleet Homes site off Glatton Road, Sawtry, outlined in red.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Things to do with the kids this Easter

Larkfleet Homes Easter activities for kids
As the Easter holidays approach families are faced with the usual problem of finding something to occupy the kids.

To help you hatch your Easter plans we have collated this run down of Easter-themed events that you can visit in some of the areas where we have developments.

Easter Eggstravganza at Peterborough Museum Sat 31 March: There’ll be lots of family fun with an egg hunt trail, face painting, Easter storytelling and egg decorating - plus discover where some of today's Easter traditions come from. You can just drop in for this Eggs-traordinary family fun, but book ahead to beat the queues.

Sacrewell Farm, Peterborough There are several events happening over Easter at Sacrewell Farm that the kids will love including a chocolate Easter egg workshop, Easter Egg-stravaganza and breakfast with the Easter Bunny – not to mention a lambing experience. You’ll need to book ahead for that one.

Ferry Meadows Country Park in Peterborough has a number of things going on over the Easter holidays including an Easter egg hunt and a holiday nature trail for the kids. Follow the link to the website to find out more.

Burghley House Easter Egg Hunt is on Sunday 1 April. The popular Easter Egg Hunt will once again be taking place in the Gardens of Surprise, from 11am to 5pm (last admission 4.30pm). Follow the treasure hunt around the Gardens of Surprise and solve the riddle to claim your full-size chocolate egg from the Easter Bunny.

Bourne Woods: Easter Trail is on Easter Monday April 2. It is a short trail around part of the wood based on dinosaurs. All are welcome from 2pm to 4pm. There will be a small charge for activities, but every entrant receives a prize.

The National Trust Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts -  There are several in the area.  Lyveden Bede House near Corby, Woolsthorpe Manor near Colsterworth, Belton House near Grantham and Peckover House near Wisbech are all hosting an event.

Whatever you do the Larkfleet Homes team would like to wish you a Happy Easter.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Larkfleet Easter treats

Larkfleet Homes Easter hot cross buns
We’re almost half way through March. The snow has gone, but more is predicted. Astronomical Spring is just a fortnight away – and so is Easter.

Along with Easter comes a wealth of food for us to enjoy, especially if you have been denying yourself something for Lent.

One Easter treat is the hot crossed bun, traditionally served on Good Friday. This sweet and spicy treat is great toasted and served with butter. You can get them at any supermarket – and chances are they have been available since New Year.

But it’s much more fun to bake your own. There are loads of recipes out there. The BBC website has this recipe, or you could try this one. Have your own Bake Off at home - see who can produce the best Easter treats.

Paul Hollywood is still popular right now. Why not give his recipe for hot cross buns a try? You can find it here.

Another traditional food served at Easter is the Simnel Cake. It is a fruit cake with a marzipan topping decorated with marzipan balls representing Jesus and the apostles.

Traditionally served on the middle Sunday of Lent when the 40-day fasting rule was relaxed, Simnel cake is served toasted at Easter. The cake was also given by serving girls to their mums when they visited home on Mothering Sunday.

Again, there is a vast number of recipes for Simnel cake but have a look at these two, one from Delia Smith and the other from TV’s Paul Hollywood again. Pick your favourite, on your marks, get set - Bake!

As well as buns and cakes there are also plenty of chocolate treats to enjoy at this time of year. It is also becoming popular to serve a special Sunday lunch at Easter. Usually, this might be ham or lamb. IF you need some ideas, visit the BBC website for inspiration.

Happy Easter from the Larkfleet Homes team.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Larkfleet nominated for community work

Larkfleet Homes Better Society Awards shortlist
Fabulous news. The team at Larkfleet Homes has been shortlisted to win a Better Society Award for philanthropy. We’re very excited and really pleased that the work we do in the communities where we have developments has received national recognition.

We have been nominated because of The Larkfleet Homes Community Fund, which was set up to help communities in the areas where we are building. The fund supports charitable projects that enhance or develop a local community. It is part of our commitment to supporting the existing communities within which we and Allison Homes are developing new homes. It also underlines our aim of helping the integration of our new developments within those communities.

Any charitable cause or community project that operates within ten miles (16 kilometres) of any Larkfleet Homes or Allison Homes development can apply for grants of between £250 and £5,000 awarded quarterly.

The fund has welcomed applications from groups that promote the environment, support residents or bring communities together. In the most recent funding round grants were awarded to each of seven projects that have made a positive impact within their communities.
  • Thorney Parish Council, for a zip-wire, trampolines, outdoor gym and swings for the older children of Thorney.
  • Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust received a grant of £1,450 to provide wood-working equipment for retiree volunteers to produce signage for interpretation and education.
  • Donnington Parish Council received a grant of £475 towards a garden shed, tools, a bird table, compost, plants and decking to form herb and wild flower beds.
  • Families First Peterborough CIC received a grant of £1,000 to fund an arts and crafts workshop for young people /adults who are Care Leavers.
  • Sawtry and District Bowling Club received a grant of £1,045 to provide two ramps to improve access to the bowling green and club house.
  • Moulton Chapel Youth & Community Centre, to build a playground including inclusive play equipment for children of all abilities.
  • Somerset Sight Limited received a grant of £5,000 to reduce isolation and loneliness by providing six additional outings for 12 sight impaired adults per outing.
The fund is open for applications here.

In the meantime, we’ve got our fingers crossed for the awards ceremony on 24 May when we will find out if we have won!

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Larkfleet helps Oakham RFC U16s look the business on tour

Oakham RFC U16 rugby tour Larkfleet Homes shirt sponsor
We are really pleased to be helping youngsters at Oakham Rugby Football Club do the business on their latest tour by sponsoring the shirts worn by players and coaches of the club’s Under 16 team.

Each tour organised by the club has a dedicated players’ shirt which is in the club colours but is always different to the standard club design. The new shirts, featuring the club badge and Larkfleet Homes logo on the front, with the player's nickname and number on the back, are for the U16s Dearne Valley tour.

The tour will include a stay at an outdoor adventure centre at Kingswood, Dearne Valley, Doncaster. There will be a series of outdoor activities such as high ropes and abseiling. On Sunday the team will travel to Dinnington RFC for a game, then come home on Sunday evening.

Coach James Ritchie told us that this season is Oakham U16's last in junior rugby before moving into the Colts. It is also the players’ GCSE year, so they have just finished their mock GCSE's and therefore we are taking them on tour in April.

James said: “Next year the players go onto different FE colleges and we will probably lose some of this team as a result, so it’s probably the last time the whole side will be together. 

"Having Larkfleet sponsor the shirts has been a very generous gift as the shirts are an additional cost to each player on top of the cost of the tour, which includes transport, accommodation and food. So, we are very thankful to Larkfleet for their sponsorship of our tour shirts.”

We are very pleased to sponsor the Oakham U16’s tour shirts. It’s an important time for this age group and the new shirts will be a great memento of their time with Oakham RFC U16s and their tour – something they will be able to keep for the future.

Let's hope they have a good tour and come back with a win!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Best ever business awards at Kings Lynn

Sam Hart Larkfleet Homes VIda Healthcare Kings Lynn Business Awards
Our sister company Larkfleet Homes Norfolk and Suffolk was delighted to help last Friday’s Kings Lynn Mayor’s Business Awards go with a bang.

The winners and finalists were the stars of the night, but we were delighted to help the organisers – the borough council and Lynn News – by sponsoring an award.

Our own director of sales Sam Hart was there to hand over the Customer Care Award to healthcare provider Vida Healthcare. The firm provides care to 37,000 patients in West Norfolk.

Sam said that Vida Healthcare won the award because it ‘goes the extra mile’. She told the Lynn News “Their ability to deliver a personal service to their customers and their staff is truly impressive. This is an organisation to be proud of.”

On receiving the award from Sam, Sarah Hill of Vida Healthcare said: “It is not an easy job. This shows what we are doing matters. We would like to thank everybody who has supported us throughout this as well as out patients. This is a patient nominated award.”

You can find a full run down of all the award winners here.

Larkfleet Homes would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners.

Photo: Sam Hart (right) handing over the trophy to Vida Healthcare.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Happy birthday Larkfleet

Birthday balloons - Larkfleet is 20 years oldToday (2 March 2018) is the 20th ‘birthday’ of what is now The Larkfleet Group of Companies, our parent company.

Larkfleet Limited, the first company in the group, was registered at Companies House on 2 March 1998 by current chief executive Karl Hick. That company was the basis of what is now known as Larkfleet Homes that is still the 'flagship' business in the group.

Today The Larkfleet Group of Companies is an award-winning business which is
building homes under both the Allison Homes and Larkfleet Homes brands, employing more than 100 people and turning over more than £80 million per year.

Its customers and clients include not just homebuyers but also local authorities, housing associations and solar farm developers.

The group has a particular focus on sustainable development.

Karl Hick said: “We aim to achieve environmental best practice and sustainability in the projects we deliver for customers and also in our own business operations.

“Our investment in research and development will benefit future generations. Our current R&D projects could revolutionise the construction industry with innovative techniques for low-cost building and technologies which will permit house building in areas prone to flooding.

“Wherever possible we place contracts with local suppliers and employ local people. We support local communities through our Larkfleet Homes Community Fund, by working with local schools and charities and by sponsoring business awards which celebrate the achievements of local companies.”

Larkfleet is a major supporter of training initiatives and is a sponsor of the Greater Peterborough University Technical College.

Our ‘corporate mission' is “to produce high quality sustainable developments using innovative technology and construction methods, delivered to exceed our customers' expectations”.

The group will shortly be announcing a series of events and activities to mark our 20 years in business.