Overnight, Sean Egan became regional managing director with one of the UK’s top five housebuilders.
The challenge was created by the £1.1 billion acquisition of Galliford Try Partnerships and its Linden Homes division by Bovis – creating the Vistry Group.
Now heading up Newcastle based Vistry Partnerships North East, he is backed by greater corporate clout and financial strength – a £2.5 billion turnover business developing 11,000 homes this year – but with the flexibility and agility of a regional organisation.
The goal is to build on the success which the hybrid development and regeneration specialist has enjoyed since he joined just over two years ago, delivering private housing through the Linden Homes brand, affordable and extra care homes for housing associations and the two first large scale private rented family housing schemes in the region.
Planning permission for eight projects was secured towards the end of last year. With a gross development value of over £180 million, they will create almost 1,200 new homes of all tenures and comprise:
- 375 mixed tenure homes in Redcar, in partnership with Homes England, Beyond Housing and Sigma Capital
- A 350 mixed tenure development in Middlesbrough, with Thirteen Group and Sigma
- A 71 apartment extra care facility with Housing 21 in Peterlee
- A similar 64 apartment scheme in North Tyneside for Housing 21
- An 82 apartment extra care facility for Home Group in Gateshead
- A 67 home scheme for Believe Housing in Peterlee
- 56 homes in Washington, for Riverside and the remainder for private sale
- 65 houses and apartments in Newcastle – the only one where site work is yet to start.
Such a flying start to the decade gives Egan confidence that this hybrid model will be drivers of significant growth.
“We changed our approach to securing new work with the region’s housing associations,” he says: “Rather than being a contractor bidding for work, we create exciting opportunities, driven by our land and development skills, which we take to them.
“We have a far more proactive approach to sourcing land, for which we devise development ideas that meet housing need and housing association criteria – often using grant support we secure directly from Homes England. We lead the project through planning to deliver ready to go schemes that ticks all the boxes. After that, we drive the process through construction to completion, constantly looking for efficiencies that add value and quality.
“I believe that this will make us the partner of choice among affordable housing providers and anticipate that 95 per cent of what we do with them will be based on this model in future, accounting for roughly half of our work. The remainder will be through Linden Homes properties for sale.”
In addition to the sites in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Washington, Linden Homes is already active in Morpeth, Darlington and Bishop Auckland and – through the Gateshead Regeneration Partnership – at Birtley, Rowlands Gill and Saltwell, with more sites to follow at Windy Nook and Felling.
This joint venture with Gateshead Council and Home Group is part of a £300 million venture to create 2,000 homes, of mixed tenure.
The Vistry Group incorporates four different successful businesses – Bovis Homes, Linden Homes, Vistry Partnerships and Drew Smith – in the South of England. By combining the talents of each of these operations, Vistry Group becomes one of the top five housebuilders in the UK.