The village setting the standard for positive placemaking

A key part of future-proof housing is a mix of homes for people of all ages, stages, and tenures. Research has shown that a mixed-use development can foster a strong sense of community, help residents feel happier and healthier through increased physical activity – with walking routes and green spaces – and boost local economies, allowing residents to spend money in their area through amenities such as shops and leisure activities.

Bertha Park in Perth is one such development, which will see the creation of 3,000 homes upon completion. As a countryside community, it will become the gold standard for how residential placemaking should be approached. It is the first new build village in Scotland to offer homes of all tenures: open market sale through Springfield, 75 family homes for rent with Simple Life and 25% social housing with Kingdom Housing Association.

The aim when designing Bertha Park wasn’t to create a standalone development, but a village, with elements to build a longstanding community that helps residents to feel healthy and happy. The site has a variety of amenities to aid this ambition, with a play park and allotments planned. There’s also a country park nearby, ensuring residents have plenty of opportunity for active travel – be it walking or cycling. Bertha Park high school has also put the village on the map, as the first purpose-built high school in Scotland for 20 years and is one of only 17 Microsoft flagship schools in the world.

Community engagement is at the heart of the development with regular events and social activities happening throughout the year – from litter picking to Easter egg hunts. Residents receive a quarterly newsletter to keep them informed about everything happening in their neighbourhood, from updates on construction to details of events.

The site also won a national Susdrain award for careful planning for biodiversity and blue/green infrastructure. It has retained natural features like ancient woodland and the Bertha Loch, with the site being built around them, rather than against them.

Rob Sumner, Residential Investment Director at Simple Life Homes, care of Sigma Capital said:

“Mixed residential sites work well to drive the delivery of housing to meet targets and to unlock success on much larger sites. Beyond this, BTRSFH can result in a fast absorption rate and therefore, the site feels immediately more established, which is advantageous for site funding, attracting more homebuyers and positively affecting house prices.

“From our perspective as a build-to-rent landlord, once a development is stabilised, we as landlord remain with a long-term custodianship on site, providing regular eyes on, maintenance and support in the community into the future.

“We’re so proud of Bertha Park and look forward to continuing to work closely with local authorities and partners to drive forward the fantastic community spirit that has already been created.”

Find out more about Bertha Park and the single-family homes for rent here:

Article written for and featured in Scottish Property Federation Voice Magazine

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