Saturday, 28 April 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!

Wednesday, 25 April 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!

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.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Help shape the future of housebuilding – and net yourself a grand!

Take the Larkfleet Homes customer survey We have launched 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. 

Complete our 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.

Go to to take part in the survey.

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.

Whether your recent house search and purchase involved a brand-new home or an established property, and whether you looked at a Larkfleet home or not, 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 this 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.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Larkfleet experts on hand to advise new homebuyers at Lincolnshire residential property show

Lincolnshire Residential Property Show
We’re going to be attending the Lincolnshire Residential Property Show in May. 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 a free-to-attend exhibition, with stands ranging from estate agents, kitchen and bathroom suppliers, furniture and homeware retailers, interior designers, financial advisors, utility companies and solicitors, plus a series of seminars throughout the day.

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. We have developments across the county in Bourne and Pinchbeck and new developments on the way in Boston, Horncastle, Louth and Nettleham.

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.

Visit for more information.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

ISAs for first time buyers

Larkfleet Homes ISAs for first time buyers
Let’s face it. It isn’t easy buying your first home. There are so many things to consider, not least of which is where the money is going to come from to cover the deposit. Many of us have turned to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ for help. But for most of us, the only option is to save for it.

Saving for a deposit can take a while. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some help available to speed things up a bit? Well there is. It comes in the shape of the shape of the government’s Help to Buy ISA. If you are saving to buy your first home, save money into a Help to Buy: ISA and the government will boost your savings by 25 per cent. So, for every £200 you save, receive a government bonus of £50. The maximum government bonus you can receive is £3,000. Click here for more information on Help to Buy ISAs.

To qualify for a Help to Buy ISA you need to be a first time buyer over the age of 16, resident in the UK and have a National Insurance number. To qualify for the government bonus, the property you are buying must be in the UK and have a purchase price of up to £250,000 (or up to £450,000 in London). You must buy the property with a mortgage and it must be the only home you will own and where you intend living.

Help to Buy ISAs for first time buyers are available from all the major high street banks and most major building societies.

Money Advice Service and Money Saving Expert provide more detailed information on what's available and from where.

At Larkfleet Homes we have many developments with homes for first time buyers. Help to Buy is available so please give us a call or visit our website and let us help you into your first home today.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Why buying new is a 'no brainer'

Moving or relocating? Buying a new-build home is a no brainer.

According to the Homebuilders’ Federation, over 90 per cent of new homebuyers said that they would buy a new build home again. More than 86 per cent said they would recommend their home builder to a friend - a two per cent year-on-year increase.

Customer satisfaction levels for new homes compare favourably with any other industry or product and help explain why demand for new homes continues to increase.

As part of our commitment to improving quality even further we are undertaking our own customer satisfaction survey. Click here to take the survey and help us to raise our customer service levels even higher.

But why buy new in the first place? A new Larkfleet home is fresh, bright, clean and untouched by previous owners’ choice of décor. It is a blank canvas on which you and your family can stamp your own style and personality. New homes are also much more energy efficient than older homes. This means they are better for the environment but can also save their owners hundreds of pounds a year in energy bills.

There are lots of ways to buy a new home! Sometimes, buying a house can seem like an impossible dream. But people looking to buy new have a range of options, such as Help to Buy or part exchange schemes. These can help make the goal of homeownership more affordable and completely achievable.

You can be sure that you will get a high build quality. New homes are built to a higher standard than ever before. From state-of-the-art kitchens to modern double and triple glazing, the quality of a new home compared to old is evident in many ways.

New homes are designed for modern living. They incorporate a range of modern designs and technologies to provide for the needs of today’s home owner. To upgrade an older house to the standards of a new build home could cost up to £45,000.

New homes are also more economical to manage. New homes built in the UK are roughly 50 per cent cheaper to run per year than the equivalent Victorian house. That could mean an annual saving of £440 for a 1-bed ground floor flat, and £1,410 for a 4-bed detached house.

By buying a new home you will be doing your bit for the environment. New homes are environmentally friendly. Energy efficiency standards and CO2 emissions in new homes are some of the best in the world. On average, this equates to them being roughly 65 per cent more energy efficient than an equivalent Victorian house.

Lastly, the peace of mind you get with a new home is more than just knowing you’re buying quality and getting excellent value for money. It’s also about being confident in the product you’re buying and knowing that you’re protected should anything happen. New homebuyers are protected by their builder’s guarantee as well an independent 10-year warranty. Customers also benefit from the peace of mind given by Consumer Codes.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Home security on a budget

home security on budget
The basis of home security is a good set of locks on doors and windows. Starting with the front door here are some of the kinds of locks you should consider fitting to ensure your home is secure. Or if you have locks fitted already, use this guide to take a look at them and see whether they are good enough.

Locks are your 'first line of defence' and it is important that they look strong (to deter burglars) and are actually strong (to stop burglars if they are not deterred).
  • The mortice deadlock is one of the most common types of door lock. It needs a key to lock it and to open it. Mortice denotes that the lock is set into the door. The levers inside the lock are pushed up in relation to the shape of the key to allow the bolt to move. The more levers the better but five is the maximum for residential locks currently. The deadlock is the bolt which slides into the doorframe to secure the door.
  • Mortice sash locks have a deadlock, but they also have a latch bolt. This means that the door can be opened from the inside with a latch when the deadlock is not engaged. It is still secure from the outside.
  • Rim locks are like mortice deadbolts but are surface-mounted rather than recessed into the door. The box contains a lock and a latch. Rim locks are usually fitted where the door is too thin to admit a mortice but they are less secure.
  • Key operated multi-point locking systems are found on modern uPVC and composite doors. They bolt the door into the frame and lock it at various points.
  • Night latches secure the door as soon as it’s closed. They can be opened from the outside by a key and can be deadlocked from the inside by sliding a ‘snib’ button into place. This type of lock is fitted to the surface of the door.

All these types of locks can be found in DIY chains like B&Q, Homebase or Wickes.

Securing doors

Fit a five-lever mortice dead lock which conforms to British Standard 3621 or European Standard EN 12209.

Avoid glazed panels if you can but if you do have them make sure they are laminated or toughened glass.

Fit a spy hole and a chain limiter.

Fit a five-lever sash lock half way up the back door and make sure it conforms to the appropriate British or European standard. Supplement the lock with mortice sash bolts at the top and bottom of the door.

Use extra locks on French windows and patio doors, such as multi-locking system. These kinds of doors are a burglar’s favourite way to get into your home.

Securing windows

Modern windows will probably have latches that are already fitted with locks. Older windows may not so you may need to retro-fit locks. Sash locks are fine, but you will need to keep the keys to hand in case of emergency.

Fit window alarms which are much cheaper than a full-on alarm system. They are triggered by vibrations on the window glass and have sirens which emit 100 decibels. You could also install exterior dummy alarm boxes. You need to make them look as authentic as possible. Make sure they have LED lights.

CCTV systems fitted in a visible location make a great deterrent. There are many budget systems available. You could also consider fitting dummy cameras which can be had for as little as £10 online.

It is not all locks, bolts and cameras when it comes to security. Your garden can help you make the house secure.

Plant spiny shrubs like pyracantha, berberis or holly on boundaries. Don’t plant them so that they can be used to shield an intruder trying to break in.

Gravel drives making a satisfying crunching sound as they are walked on. Things that create noise deter intruders. You could also fit some external lighting for added peace of mind.

Finally, when you’re out at night or away for a while fit a timer so that your interior lights come on at various times and in different rooms.

Stay safe!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

10k in the woods a run away success for Bourne Rotary

The Larkfleet Group of Companies sponsors Bourne Run in the Wood
If you went down to the woods on Sunday morning you would have been surprised by the runners in the annual Bourne Run in the Woods event.

Organised by the Rotary Club of Bourne, our parent company The Larkfleet Group of Companies was again delighted to be one of the event’s sponsors.

The Run in the Woods is an established highlight of the local sporting calendar. It is a popular and very competitive 10k run with a record time of 34.18 minutes.

This year’s race was won by 19-year-old Bourne Town Harriers runner Scott Taylor in a time of 36.51. John Herbert finished in 2nd place and Stamford Strider Jonathan Taylor finished in 3rd.

The winner of the ladies’ race was Katie Arnold of Stamford Striders in 43.07. Joanne Mark of Colchester Harriers was in 2nd spot and 3rd place went to Sally Hart.

The organisers told us: “It was a very successful event which we hope will continue in future years. We do acknowledge the importance of the support which we receive from local sponsors such as The Larkfleet Group, without whom the charitable work which we in Rotary carry out would not be possible”.

Congratulations and well done to all the runners and organisers. We hope you can do it all again next year!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

First-time buyers better off than renters

first time buyer cheaper to buy than rent
Thinking of buying your new first new home? You’ve been around a few Larkfleet Homes’ developments, you’ve picked out your dream home. You’ve checked your finances but you’re still not 100 per cent sure you’re ready to take the plunge. Perhaps renting is cheaper?

Well think again. According to research from the Halifax Building Society, buying a home is £900 a year cheaper than renting. The research also found that first-time buyers can save £27,000 over the term of their mortgage. That’s almost as much as the average deposit (currently £31,751).

The latest Halifax Buying versus Renting Review found that the average cost of buying a three-bed home in the UK, including mortgage payments, was £679 a month in December 2017, compared to the average monthly rent of £754 for the same property type.

The gap between the cost of buying and renting is now at its highest in four years, up 44 per cent from last year’s £623 saving to £900 a year.

Buying is consistently more financially attractive than renting across the UK. In the region where Larkfleet is building, the average monthly saving is £94.

Nationally, the average monthly cost of buying has dropped 22 per cent (£192) since 2008, while rental payments have jumped by the same amount (22 per cent or £138).

Russell Galley, Halifax managing director, told us: “The gap between buying and renting has widened significantly, primarily driven by a reduction in mortgage rates and a more competitive market pushing down monthly payments. Meanwhile, the cost of rent, household
maintenance and average deposits have remained broadly flat.

“Despite having to put down a sizeable deposit up front, homeowners are overall better off than renters in all parts of the UK. But those who are unable to get onto the property ladder because they can’t raise enough cash are paying more by renting.

“The good news is that record numbers of first-time buyers are still taking their first step on to the ladder and helping to bridge this gap thanks to a continued low-rate environment and government schemes including Help to Buy.”

Financially it’s a no-brainer. So, first time buyer but thinking of renting? Take a look at our developments to find the house of your dreams today.