People who move onto a new estate in Hassocks may find they do not have their homes to themselves.
In fact residents at the Saxon Mills development could find themselves sharing their properties ... with birds.
Housebuilders Barratt Homes are installing special bricks into their houses on new estates that are designed to provide nesting spots for swifts.
It follows a pledge by the company to support the iconic British swift following research from the British Trust for Ornithology which revealed that the swift population has fallen by 51 per cent since 1995.
The housebuilders will now be installing their custom built ‘Swift Bricks’ at the development to provide a habitat for the declining species.
Swifts typically make their home in the roofs of older buildings, however, these habitats are being disturbed due to repairs and changes in roof design.
To combat this, Barratt Southern Counties, in partnership with the RSPB, has committed to providing one swift brick per plot at each of its new homes developments.
A total of 130 custom-design swift nesting boxes will be installed at the housebuilder’s Saxon Mills development. A spokesman said: “These special bricks have been designed to match the existing framework of the homes, and will be installed to create a safe, unobtrusive home for the swifts.”
Barratt Southern Counties sales and marketing director Lynnette St-Quintin said: “As a housebuilder, we feel that it is our duty to provide a home for swifts across our developments. We are working hard to reverse the decline of the swift, which is why we have commissioned and installed specially-designed nesting boxes to ensure that that they are able to live in a safe, undisturbed environment.”
RSPB spokesman Jamie Wyver said: “We know how to give swifts the new homes they need – now let’s bring them back to our towns and cities! We need local councils and developers on board as they have the power to make an enormous difference. Think of all the new building that’s going on around the UK: with a few tiny changes we could be providing millions of homes for swifts.”
Barratt Homes is currently building two, three and four-bedroom homes at Saxon Mills in Hassocks, with prices starting from £294,995.