Soaring activity underlines strength of our housing recovery

By Anita Jaynes on 20 May, 2015

A key housing project on the northern outskirts of Swindon is just one of the 80 major housing schemes being steered to completion by West agency Bruton Knowles.

The development opportunity at Abbey Farm, Lady Lane, in Blunsdon is being offered with full planning consent for 350 homes after being approved by planners earlier this month.

It is one of more than 80 sites varying in size from 4-6 homes up to 60 units, and land consented into the low hundreds, being brought forward by Bruton Knowles’ Gloucester-based development team.

Partner Angus Taylor said in total the current projects would deliver more than 1,000 new homes across the country.

He said: “Total construction cost for these schemes is in excess of £100m and producing £300m GDV. Clearly, this is will have a significant impact on the regional and national economy.

“This level of activity is totally at odds with some press reports which appear to be downplaying the extent to which the construction sector as a whole has bounced back following the downturn.

“Activity on the ground suggests otherwise. It’s as if the entire world has suddenly woken up and decided to build new homes.”

Angus Taylor said London had been used to high levels of activity over the past years but the effect was finally beginning to spill out to the regions in the last 12 months.

“With so many schemes going forward many developers will be looking to identify their next tranche of development land. Current supplies will not last forever.”

He said Bruton Knowles’ cross-country connectivity was playing a key role helping the firm stay one step ahead of the recovery.

“With a record number of deals crossing the line in the last 12 months we are expanding our development team to take advantage of improving confidence in the West, West Midlands and Wales.”

Headed up by Scott Winnard, the development team works closely with landowners and developers to identify which schemes to proceed with and when it’s best to hang fire and wait for the local market to catch up.

Angus Taylor added: “Just like land values, the regional recovery is highly localised and a good working knowledge of development sites is essential if the client is to be properly represented.

“As well as the  team based in Gloucester we have Paul Matthews in Bristol, Mike Rees in Cardiff and Ian Mercer in Birmingham working together to ensure we have people with hands-on experience of just about every corner of the South West and Wales.
“Although we emphasise the importance of local knowledge the team is big enough and flexible enough to build on the initial contact and draft in top specialists if necessary.

“Chris Oldershaw is one of the most experienced members of the team, having steered the regeneration of Gloucester city centre.

“He is one of the leading authorities in the country on urban renewal and helps us tackle tricky issues such as the challenges of population growth on housing in the region, analysing how drivers like the Help to Buy and reforms to Stamp Duty will impact on the number of new homes being built.”

Planner Paul Barton is the latest addition to the team which includes Richard Brogden, Rupert Detheridge, Robert Anthony, Harry Breakwell, Roger Bush and Ben Compton.

Pictured above: Angus Taylor, partner at Bruton Knowles