Green light for hundreds of new homes in Inverurie

Malcolm Allan HousebuildersOver 500 new homes will be built across two sites in Inverurie after councillors approved plans for the developments, The Press & Journal has reported.

Malcolm Allan Housebuilders had submitted a fresh application for 416 homes and a small office and retail development at Portstown.

While the developer already had permission to build the properties, it now plans to build all 48 affordable homes and flats on one site.

As a result of a reduction in demand for larger houses in the north east, the firm will also change the design of some of the homes to reduce the number of larger properties and feature more semi-detached housing, including bungalows.

Since the developer already had permission to build a similar development, and the decision was effectively determining a change of house type, the committee voted in favour of the proposals.

Councillors also backed plans by Barratt North Scotland to build 125 homes at the nearby Boynds Farm, Uryside.

The developer already had permission to build 104 homes but has decided to build some smaller units due to similar market concerns. Work on the project, which is expected to take more than 10 years to complete, began in 2014.

The scheme also includes a new £11 million primary school, Uryside Primary, which opened following the October break.

Report highlights Barratt’s £298m boost to UK economy

Douglas McLeod

Douglas McLeod

Barratt Developments has delivered a £298 million boost to the UK economy over the past year, building 1,708 new homes in Scotland and supporting around 5,000 jobs over the period, a new report has revealed.

As part of its housebuilding activity, the housebuilder, which includes both Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes, has made £29.5m in local contributions to help build new local facilities and infrastructure in communities surrounding its new developments, including seven new community facilities and the provision of 140 new school places.

The achievements are highlighted in Barratt Scotland’s latest Social Economic Footprint report which measures the housebuilder’s social and economic contribution to Scotland over the past year. Included within the report are key measures relating to the company’s support for the housebuilding supply chain, local communities, environment, public services and employment.

Other highlights included in the report show that Barratt has:

  • Contributed £298m of Gross Value Added (GVA) to UK economic output
  • Directly employed 19 new graduates, trainees and apprentices
  • Supported 620 sub-contractor companies and 680 supplier companies
  • Planted or retained 17,250 trees or shrubs on its developments
  • Recycled 96% of construction waste
  • Created 86.8ha of greenspace through public open space and private gardens
  • Generated £55.5m in tax to support public services.

Douglas McLeod, regional managing director for Scotland, Barratt Developments, said: “Market conditions have remained consistent throughout Scotland and demand for good quality homes remains stronger than ever, something which is yet again reflected in our socio-economic footprint. By building over 1,700 new homes, we have continued to help meet the squeeze on housing, helping more people move onto the property ladder, and helping others move up the ladder.

“Our activity continues to deliver a significant social and economic impact, supporting Scotland’s construction industry and delivering new infrastructure and services to communities across Scotland. I’m also proud of our environmental record, having maintained our commitment of safeguard the environments in which we build through, for example, recycling and reducing waste, tree planting and the creation of green spaces.”

The report on Barratt’s Socio-Economic Footprint in 2017 was carried out by planning consultant, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (NLP).

Help to Buy disproportionately helping larger housebuilders, analysis reveals

Building Professional Employee Builder Worker stockCritics of the Scottish Help to Buy scheme have called for the policy to be scrapped after an investigation revealed just three high volume housebuilders have received around £189 million in subsidised mortgages between them.

Freedom of information (FOI) data obtained by investigatory journalism platform The Ferret has shown that Persimmon Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt have been the largest beneficiaries of Help to Buy since its inception, selling thousands of homes and building nearly half of the homes under the scheme.

The Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme allows people to purchase a new-build home without the need for a large deposit. It enables the Scottish Government to subsidise the cost of home-buyers’ mortgages with prospective buyers getting up to 15% of the purchase price of a new home.

According to The Ferret, York-based Persimmon Homes has benefited most from the scheme. It has sold 2,308 homes via Help to Buy – accounting for nearly one fifth of all the homes sold through the Scottish programme.

Based on the average equity stake per home provided by the Scottish Government, The Ferret estimates that the Scottish Government has put around £77.4m into the purchase of Persimmon built homes.

London-based Taylor Wimpey has received an estimated £57m worth of mortgage support, while BDW Trading, which is part of Leicester-based Barratt Homes, has benefited from around £54.8m worth of subsidised loans.

Courtesy of The Ferret

Courtesy of The Ferret

In early 2016, the Scottish Government announced it would ring-fence one third of its Help to Buy funding for smaller developers.

But the figures show that in the 2016 – 2017 financial year, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Barrat built 52% of the homes supported by the scheme. So far in the current financial year, these three firms have accounted for 50% of the 1,264 homes which received Scottish Government subsidy.

Green MSP Andy Wightman, who also chairs the cross-party group on housing at the Scottish Parliament, urged the Scottish Government to end the scheme in the next budget, claiming it makes housing more expensive for everyone else by pushing up prices generally and does little to benefit those on low incomes.

He told The Ferret: “For too long now, boosting profits for senior management and shareholders has taken precedent over delivering homes that can properly be called affordable. Housing policy should focus on the supply side rather than demand.”

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said that the money would be better spent on supporting affordable housing for social rent.

“Help to Buy is not the right way of addressing the housing crisis. It adds public money into the market rather than lowering prices for everyone,” he added.

Directing resources to increasing the supply of affordable housing for social rent, he argued, “would reduce the threat of homelessness to many people who are currently struggling to keep a roof over the heads due to a combination of high rent, stagnant wages and welfare reform”.

Nicola Barclay, chief executive of Homes for Scotland, emphasised to The Ferret that taxpayers were likely to get their money back over the long term, and could even profit, provided house prices rise, as the loans were repaid.

She said: “With housing completions still 36% down on pre-recession levels, Help to Buy has played a hugely important role in sustaining the construction of new homes, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and contributing £1bn in Gross Value Added to the wider economy since launch.”

The Scottish Government announced last year that Help to Buy enabed more than 30 households a week to purchase a new build home

The Scottish Government announced last year that Help to Buy enabed more than 30 households a week to purchase a new build home

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said that the Scottish Government was investing £3bn in building 50,000 affordable homes and that the Help To Buy scheme was in addition to this.

He told The Ferret: “We are committed to help struggling buyers purchase their own home through our shared equity schemes.

“Over 10,000 households have benefited from our Help to Buy programme since its introduction – two thirds of these were first time buyers and three quarters were aged 35 or under. The evidence also shows the scheme has had success in helping people move from social housing and from waiting lists into sustainable home ownership.

“Shared equity support is provided directly to buyers and builders receive no support from the Scottish Government. Help to Buy is led by demand from buyers and the Scottish Government has no control over the number of developments made available by each builder or where these developments are located.”

Responding to the report, the Common Weal think-tank has went further and challenged the Scottish Government to “answer a number of questions about its closeness to the property developer lobby in Scotland”.

Other revelations in The Ferret included evidence that the Scottish Government has asked industry representatives to come up with evidence that will justify continuing the subsidy scheme.

The FoI’s also show that Homes for Scotland (HfS) rejected the idea of a small developers fund to replace the current Help to Buy scheme.

Commenting on the findings, Common Weal head of policy, Ben Wray, stated: “These revelations open up serious questions about just how closely the Scottish Government and the property developer lobby are when it comes to designing housing policy.

“It’s perfectly reasonable that Homes for Scotland is listened to, but the Scottish Government appear to be reliant on the lobbyist for evidence to justify policy which its most wealthy members benefit from directly. The fact that HfS are direct partners in devising the new build-to-rent subsidy raises further alarm bells about the closeness of this relationship.

“The Ferret FoI revelations also show that HfS has specifically rejected a small housebuilder fund to replace the current help-to-buy, which the evidence shows is a cash cow for a few big corporate developers. HfS do not represent all opinion on housebuilding and all housebuilders in Scotland, and the Scottish Government would do well to remember this.

“Common Weal will be watching the Budget closely next week to see if subsidies for big corporate property developers are maintained, or if full funding commitment is put into building public rental housing.”

Nicola Barclay has since taken to Twitter to clarify that Homes for Scotland represents all developers and “supports an all tenure approach to give everyone the chance of a home”.

Planning approval for 680 homes in Edinburgh and East Lothian


The new homes proposed for Baileyfield South

Two new housing developments in East Lothian and the East of Edinburgh have now received planning approval, in a move set to help address local housing shortages.

The Barratt Homes’ developments, located in Portobello, Edinburgh and Wallyford, near Musselburgh in East Lothian, will provide an additional 680 homes in total.

Another view of the Baileyfield development

Another view of the Baileyfield development

Approvals of the new sites will result in a mix of two, three and four bedroom homes and apartments in Wallyford and one, two and three bedroom apartments, colonies, townhouses and terraced homes at Portobello.

The 245 homes set to be built in Wallyford will result in the creation of 368 direct and 1,103 indirect jobs in the area.

Baileyfield viewed from above

Baileyfield viewed from above

At Portobello, Barratt Homes will be building 435 new homes at Baileyfield South. Previously used for commercial purposes, the mix of property type at the site is designed to complement the builder’s nearby existing development, Barratt @ Portobello.

The new development will result in the creation of 665 direct and 2,000 indirect jobs during the site’s construction.

An aerial view of the Wallyford site

An aerial view of the Wallyford site

Mansoor Ali, development director for Barratt Homes East Scotland, said: “Edinburgh East and East Lothian are both extremely popular residential locations and these developments will meet the needs of a wide range of house hunters ranging from first time buyers to families.

“Our latest planning approvals in East Lothian and Edinburgh are good news and we will see building begin later in 2018.”

Barratt and David Wilson Homes campaign to help prevent play related accidents at home

Mike Cowie, sales director with Barratt Homes North and Clare Copland from St Andrews First Aid with the leaflets

Mike Cowie, sales director with Barratt Homes North and Clare Copland from St Andrews First Aid with the leaflets

Barratt and David Wilson Homes have joined alliances with St Andrews First Aid, Good Egg Safety and regional Community Safety Teams to roll-out a new Child Safety at Home Campaign across Scotland.

The housebuilders decided to do more to safeguard Scottish families after learning that over two million UK children under the age of 15 are hospitalised each year as a result of accidents while playing at home.

Mike Cowie, sales and marketing director at Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes, said: “Scottish communities are crucial to our business which is why we actively take our health and safety expertise into schools and share our knowledge of good safety practices with schoolchildren.

“However, as part of our research process, when we looked more closely at childhood accident statistics we found that the number of accidents at home had risen because children are spending more time playing indoors. That’s when we decided to develop child safety at home practices for our customers to equip them with the necessary tips and skills they need to protect their children at home.”

A recent survey by Play Scotland – a charitable organisation funded by the Scottish Government whose role is to promote the importance of play for all children – revealed that parents are experiencing growing levels of anxiety about traffic, stranger danger and lack of play areas, which has led to more children being kept indoors.

With the support of home safety partners, Barratt and David Wilson Homes are hosting a series of free home safety events in its showhomes across Scotland, with a clear focus on child safety and first aid at home. The home safety roadshow will also tour local parent and toddler groups.

The events will outline some common mistakes made in the home, as well as simple tips and tricks on how to prime the home for big holiday seasons like Christmas. The housebuilders will be working with parents to show how simple it is to mitigate accidents at home, and educate on the basics of child first aid.

A free selection of Good Egg Safety In-Home Safety Guides will also be located in sales offices across Scotland for parents to collect and implement in their own homes.

Jan James, chief executive of Good Egg Safety, said: “We are delighted to act as one of the key partners for Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes on the Child Safety at Home campaign and we commend them on this great initiative.

“Our award-winning guides will be available at a selection of the housebuilders show homes for parents to freely pick up and take home. As a parent and grandparent, myself, I was horrified to learn how many dangers lurk in our homes that many of us are completely unaware of; which is why we developed this guide.

“We are confident it will help parents to keep children safer within the home through making some really simple changes that can drastically reduce the potential of accidental and, potentially fatal, injuries.”

The Good Egg Safety Guides are produced in conjunction with a steering group of ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), St Andrews First Aid and NHS Health Scotland.

Moyra Reid, St Andrew’s First Aid, said: “Knowing the basics of child first aid and having the confidence to use them equips people with the ability to save a life.

“As Scotland’s only dedicated first aid charity, it is our ambition to establish Scotland as a nation of lifesavers. That is why we were keen to get involved in this project with Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes.

“We will be at the showhomes and the parent toddler groups throughout November and December teaching basic first aid training and would encourage any parents, aunties, uncles, friends, relatives and anybody in between, to pop down and learn some simple first aid skills. Hopefully you’ll never need to use them but you will be helping to ensure any child in your care is kept safe in the home.”

New community planned at former Scottish Power site

Riverside @ CathcartBarratt Homes has started work to deliver a new community on the site of the former Scottish Power headquarters in Cathcart, Glasgow.

The Riverside @ Cathcart development is set to include apartments, homes and expansive green spaces.

As part of the overall masterplan for the site the builder has retained many of the key features; the existing feature walls will be relocated and rebuilt within the site, and the original sundial will form part of a feature entrance square.

Estelle Sykes, sales director, Barratt West Developments, said: “The re-development of the former Scottish Power headquarters will see us rid the site of expanses of surface car parking, while being careful to retain a lot of the original trees. We will make some serious public space improvements and we will be bringing a selection of quality homes to the area.

“One of the key design elements of the new site will be a ‘western boulevard’ that will be lined with newly planted trees and the framed by the three storey townhouses – we expect this to be a very popular area of The Riverside @ Cathcart.

“The homes that sit alongside Cathcart House will have some spectacular views across Glasgow, as well as private gardens to enjoy. There will also be some detached homes that sit along the border of White Cart Water, these will be perfect for househunters that would like to wake up to the soothing noise of the river.”

Blog: A site manager’s guide to five-star housebuilding

Barratt Homes' Mill Brae development

Barratt Homes’ Mill Brae development

A home is likely to be the biggest purchase a person will ever make. As such, it’s perfectly understandable that buyers will want every assurance their home is the quality investment they’ve worked so long and hard for.

Launched in 2005 as part of its national survey of house builders, the Home Builders Federation’s (HBF) Star Rating Scheme is a renowned industry benchmark, and an effective and nationally recognised means of identifying quality house builders when searching for a new home.

By awarding stars for the level of customer satisfaction achieved, the scheme gives buyers a clear indication of the quality and customer service standards they can expect from house builders in their area. It also encourages house builders to deliver excellence by setting a competitive standard to aim for.

Demonstrating the award-winning housebuilder’s commitment to the scheme, Barratt Homes has been a five-star housebuilder for eight consecutive years. One of its shining stars is Mill Brae site manager, David Oliver, whose dedication to delivering quality has earned him several Pride in the Job awards from the NHBC over his long career.

Here, David describes five things you can expect from a quality housebuilder worthy of the five star accolade:

Dave Oliver

Dave Oliver

A quality product 

A housebuilder can only secure a five star rating by earning a consistently high score in the national survey of housebuilders. This means that customers must be satisfied with every aspect of the buying experience, and most importantly, the product itself.

By constantly striving to maintain its longstanding five star rating, we operate a comprehensive sign-off process to ensure each home is finished to HBF’s exacting standards. This means that each time a home is handed over to a new owner, it inspected personally by a company director.

We also work closely with our suppliers to ensure each home is fitted with the highest quality fixtures and fittings available. In recent years, we have developed partnerships with numerous quality brands and manufacturers.

An excellent customer service approach

It doesn’t matter how fantastic a property is if a house builder isn’t willing to go that extra mile to provide a supportive and effective sales process. Bad service leaves its mark and is rarely forgotten, especially when customers are asked about their experience by the HBF.

Most reputable housebuilders follow the Consumer Code for Home Builders, which was introduced in 2010 to inform buyers on what they should expect from their builder. You can find out more here:

Barratt Homes has taken this one step further by developing its own Customer Care Charter in addition to observing the Consumer Code. This ten-point plan, which puts customers first, outlines the guidance provided to home buyers through every stage of the process. This includes:

  • a 2-year emergency call-out cover for all homeowners
  • a 2-year warranty covering central heating, appliances, windows and kitchen units
  • a success test to ensure that every plot is signed off against a 20-point checklist
  • director inspection and sign off of every new home and follow up phone call to ensure that customers are happy with both the product and service provided
  • in-home demonstrations of all appliances and features
  • a quality control procedure, utilising the skills of staff across all levels and disciplines

Customer care improvements within the Charter are discussed and evaluated weekly by the Barratt Homes board of directors and regular seminars are arranged for sales, construction and customer service teams to continually build on the quality of service provided.

The right people

By investing in their people, house builders can engender a culture of pride, enthusiasm and passion for their product amongst staff. This reflects positively on the quality of the homes produced and the service provided to customers. Five star builders are more likely to invest in their staff and reward good practice, giving customers the confidence that they will be dealing with a skilled, personable and knowledgeable team.

Barratt Homes is committed to developing its workforce and offering employees, like me, the opportunity to develop new skills and progress their careers. In recent years, we have been highly commended in the category of Best Employer at the 2015 Homes for Scotland Awards, and this year we were named Housebuilder of the Year.

One of our celebrated programmes is the Barratt Academy, to which we look to appoint over apprentices across Scotland every year, giving everyone from school leavers and graduates to ex-armed forces personnel and career changers the chance to break into the lucrative construction industry.


Customers are more likely to rate their builder highly if they feel their investment is protected. Most major house builders will offer a 10 year warranty through the NHBC, which not only puts the buyer at ease, but also the lender – having NHBC certification can be essential for some lenders to rubber stamp a mortgage application.

In addition to the 10 year warranty provided through the NHBC, Barratt Homes’ properties also come with an exclusive two year warranty, covering everything from appliances and interior fittings to central heating and brickwork.

An active participant in the community

In order to build homes that people want to buy and live in, it’s important that house builders create a sense of place when planning and designing new developments. In order to do this successfully, they need to have a strong understanding of the local community, its needs and its expectations.

By engaging with local residents and contributing to community life, house builders are more likely to understand customers’ aspirations and how to provide a more satisfying product.

Barratt Homes has delivered numerous stand-out projects by working with the communities it serves. Most notably, through its work with city stakeholders during the planning and design of Westburn Gardens in Aberdeen, we have delivered a truly ambitious development offering a range of homes that suit the needs and budgets of local people.

What’s more, Barratt Homes has worked closely with community groups like Brighter Bucksburn to help them secure accolades and awards from the likes of Beautiful Scotland for creating attractive environments that local people can be proud of.

Barratt Homes is currently developing homes across the North of Scotland, including Ness Castle in Inverness, Ocean, Westburn Gardens, Riverside Quarter and Allan Park in Aberdeen and several Aberdeenshire communities such as Newmachar, Kemnay, Inverurie and Bridge of Don.

Barratt to unlock sites for over 3,200 new homes across Scotland

Douglas McLeod

Douglas McLeod

Barratt Developments Scotland has acquired ten new sites to allow for the development of 1,400 new homes, with plans in the pipeline to increase capacity by a further 1,830 new homes by the end of the year.

Since April, the housebuilder has been acquiring sites as far north as Inverness down to the central belt, focusing on acquisition in and around Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Looking ahead to the remainder of the year, the Homes for Scotland Housebuilder of the Year, which includes both the Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes brands, is planning to acquire another eleven sites in Scotland, with capacity for a further 1830 new homes.

Barratt said its commitment to continued investment in Scotland is also reflected in its recruitment activity. Since the summer, the housebuilder has recruited more than 20 graduates and apprentices and 45 additional tradesmen. Indirectly, Barratt’s homebuilding activity has also supported an increase of subcontractor workforces on new sites.

The news comes on the back of Barratt Scotland celebrating another record year of output, having completed 1700 homes across the country over the last financial year. Home completions were up around 9% on the previous year.

Douglas McLeod, regional managing director for Scotland, said: “We are proud of our footprint and heritage here in Scotland which is why we continue to invest, acquiring new sites and building homes in popular places where people want to live. Demand for new homes is still strong among all types of buyers, from first time buyers through to downsizers, and we’re receiving a consistently high level of enquiries and reservations across our divisions.

“That demand is unlikely to let up, given Scotland’s requirement for new homes to meet population growth. This is good news for both Scotland’s housebuilding industry and its employment market. Over the course of the coming months, we will be looking to increase our proportion of directly employed tradesmen while widening our pool of trusted sub-contractors.”

Barratt wins approval for 115 new homes in Leith

2284 02 B South Fort Street Street Scene View 03 WC_AA development of 115 new homes in the Leith area of Edinburgh has been granted planning permission.

The approval of Barratt Homes’ planning application will result in a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments and colony homes to the north of the city, an area sought after by both families and first time buyers.

The development, located between Ferry Road and Bonnington Road, will include a landscaped green corridor featuring a new cycle path and pedestrian walkway to connect to the existing National Cycle Route.

2284 01 B South Fort Street OverV3 WCMansoor Ali, development director for Barratt Homes East Scotland, said: “New homes in Leith is good news for the area and good news for the city. We are continuing to see demand outstrip supply within Edinburgh’s existing housing stock, and this is unlikely to change.

“Our new development in Leith will go some way to help address this. As well as homes for sale we will also be working to deliver 28 affordable homes along with a number of properties for social housing, all set to help alleviate some of the current housing shortfall in the city.”

The development is expected to create over 500 direct and indirect jobs.

Additionally, Barratt Homes will be providing £530,000 for community improvements including education and transport infrastructure projects.

Barratt delivers highest volumes in nine years

David Thomas

David Thomas

Barratt Developments is seeking to further improve the efficiency of its operations after delivering its highest volumes in nine years.

The housebuilder said it is increasingly looking to timber frames, large format block and light gauge steel frames to speed build times and reduce labour dependency.

The announcement came as the company increased its profit before tax by 12% to £765.1 million (2016: £682.3m) on turnover up 10% to £4.65 billion (2016: £4.23bn).

The number of homes completed during the year to June 30 rose by 0.4% while total completions crept up to 17,395 from 17,319.

Barratt also confirmed plans for a series of special dividends to shareholders which will see them receive a £1.4bn windfall over the next two years.

Chief executive David Thomas said: “Improving the efficiency of our operations and controlling costs continues to be a high priority for the Group, as it will further enhance our margin.

“In 2016, the Group undertook a fundamental review of its Barratt and David Wilson housing ranges.

“The outcome was a reduction in the number of houses in the range which will increase standardisation, simplify construction and reduce build costs whilst maintaining our high standards of design and build quality.

“There are currently 132 sites with c. 19,000 plots where we will be using the new ranges, of which 51 sites are already under construction.

“We have a robust and carefully managed supply chain with 90% of the housebuild materials sourced by our centralised procurement function manufactured or assembled in the UK. The cost of c. 75% of our centrally procured materials is now fixed until the end of FY18.

“On labour, whilst we continue to see some pressure on skilled labour supply with shortages remaining location and trade specific, the rate of cost increase has eased.

“We are also seeking to increase construction efficiency and reduce demand on labour through implementing the new house-type ranges which are easier to build and through the use of alternative build options such as timber frames, large format block and light gauge steel frames.

“We continue to expect that overall build cost inflation for FY18 will be c. 3-4%.”