Brownfield sites are ideal for SME developers

Brownfield sites are ideal for SME developers

Notion Developments are always looking for both suitable sites to develop in the North West and finance to develop them. 

It comes as no surprise therefore to read the contents of new research from the Federation of Master Builders which cites both a lack of sites and finance as major barrier to SME housebuilders.

We are keen to build small developments of up to 100 homes and yet finding those smaller sites is becoming increasingly difficult.  The problem lies at the heart of the development system in England – land is a lucrative commodity and is often traded several times over before a housebuilder can look at buying it.

Then of course, the major housebuilders have got a lot to answer for.  They can often sit on land for years.  From their point of view – why not?  This commodity is just going to go up in value.  Exclusivity deals between landowners and developers which can tie up land for a long time are also common.  Housebuilders may even sell plots rather than build if the profits are right.

It’s really frustrating to drive around Salford and Manchester and see so many potential brownfield sites that could be developed.  For example, old mills standing empty or former pubs that have closed down are often in great locations where people want to live.  A 2014 report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England concluded there is enough brownfield land in England alone for at least a million homes, enough to meet five years of demand.

Recently, Notion Developments worked with Salford Council to build eight new properties at Hurstfield Road, Worsley. This has been developed as a brownfield site which was cleared after the homes previously on site were demolished.   It would be good to see more local authorities being as creative with SME developers - as often brownfield sites are perfect for smaller builds.

And talking of being creative, the second barrier to SME housebuilders was cited as finance – however, in our experience, finance is becoming more accessible.  Certainly,Notion Developmentshas an impressive track record in sourcing finance and we have successfully worked with joint funding partners as well as financing our own developments.

Releasing those brownfield land sites quickly and with the minimum of red tape would, we believe, make a real difference when it comes to delivering affordable homes and meeting those huge homebuilding targets.

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 08:29