Barratt Homes appoints new construction director in West of Scotland

Craig McFarlane

Craig McFarlane

Barratt Homes has promoted Craig McFarlane to the position of construction director in the West of Scotland.

With 20 years’ experience in the construction industry, Craig joined the firm more than five years ago as contracts manager, before becoming construction manager in 2014. In his new role as construction director, Craig will oversee the construction of all sites across the firm’s west Scotland division, reporting to managing director David Scott.

David Scott, managing director for Barratt Homes West Scotland, said: “With strong growth in the market and exceptional sales in the financial year to date, now is a great time for Craig to lead our construction team. His considerable experience and invaluable knowledge about Barratt Homes and the wider industry make him the perfect candidate for the job, and we’re pleased to recognise and support his professional development by handing him the reigns.”

Over the course of 2015, Barratt Homes expects to build more than 500 new homes across the west of Scotland.

Aberdeen backs plans for 323 new homes

Plans to create 323 new homes on the site of the former Royal Cornhill Hospital have been supported by Aberdeen City Council.

The council’s planning development management committee expressed a willingness to approve the scheme from Stewart Milne Homes, Barratt East Scotland and NHS Grampian, subject to conditions.

The approval is also dependent on the conclusion of a legal agreement to secure a 25 per cent affordable housing provision, of which 15 per cent will be on site – and developer contributions linked to primary education, and community, library, and sports and recreation facilities.

The legal agreement will also cover the creation of a ‘car club’ membership scheme for future residents of the development to mitigate a shortfall in parking spaces, and a developer contribution towards road junction works in the event that the development goes ahead before the planned Berryden Road corridor widening programme has been completed.

The plan involves the demolition of former hospital buildings to make way for 89 houses and 198 flats, and conversion of the five Upper Hospital buildings into 36 flats. Car parking, open space and new access routes into and out of the site will also be created. Extensive open space will be maintained in the site’s parkland setting.

Berryden Road is earmarked as the main access point into the site at a newly signalised junction, with a secondary access point on May Baird Avenue restricted to emergency vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

Committee vice-convener Councillor Andy Finlayson said: “We have waited a long time for an acceptable scheme to come forward for this site. City council planning officials have worked hard to negotiate the best possible scheme in terms of open space, layout, designs and affordable housing provision, and I am pleased that it is moving forward at last.”

The 5.54-hectare site, in the Rosemount and Westburn Conservation Area, lies between Berryden Road and May Baird Avenue and has lain vacant for some 12 years since being declared surplus to requirements by NHS Grampian.

Scottish house sales up 15 per cent for Barratt Homes

Barratt HomesHousebuilder Barratt has reported its strongest start to the year for sales in Scotland for eight years.

The firm said it secured nearly 190 sales in January, up 15 per cent on a year ago, with some of its Scottish sites “selling at twenty per cent above the UK average of 0.58 sales per week per site”.

Barratt attributed the success in part to a surge in activity from buyers seeking to buy in advance of changes to property taxes in April.

It also cited high buyer confidence, particularly in the mid-value housing market.

Barratt Scotland regional director Douglas McLeod said: “January is traditionally a slow month for the economy, and this has certainly been the case for new home sales in previous years.

“We believe that a combination of factors, including high demand for quality well-priced new-build homes, changes to stamp duty, buyer confidence, Help to Buy and favourable lending conditions, have all conspired to create a very favourable climate for home buying.”

Barratt Homes has already announced plans to open up to 13 new sites this year across Scotland, creating almost 2,100 new homes.

They include: Newcraighall Village, Newcraighall; Duddingston Gardens, Edinburgh; Alnwickhill, Edinburgh; Kings Way, Renfrew; Highland Gate, Stirling; Silver Bell, Hamilton; Parklands, Coatbridge; Barclay Grange, Newmachar; Harlaw Gait, Inverurie; Ocean, Aberdeen; Muggiemoss Road, Aberdeen; and Mugiemoss Village, Aberdeen.

Barratt targets expanding number of Scottish housing sites

Barratt HomesBarratt Homes is to deliver 2,100 new homes across 13 new sites in Scotland after citing “a strong recovery in the housing market following the launch of the Help to Buy scheme”.

The housebuilder said its expansion north of the Border underpins employment for about 4000 new and existing jobs.

Barratt said it predominately employs local sub-contractors and tradesmen for each development site.

The company will open new sites at in Edinburgh at Newcraighall Village, Dunddingston Gardens and Alnwickhill; in Aberdeen at Muggiemoss Road, Mugiemoss Village and Ocean; Kings Way, Renfrew; Highland Gate, Stirling; Silver Bell, Hamilton; Parklands, Coatbridge; Barclay Grange, Newmachar; and Harlaw Gait, Inverurie.

Douglas McLeod, regional director at Barratt Scotland, said: “We have seen demand for new homes expand very quickly over the year and the new sites we are opening mean that there will be more choice for local buyers.

“And it’s good news for the local economy, as in addition to supporting existing local construction jobs as well as creating new ones by building new homes, the local people who move into the new housing will also spend their wages locally.

“This means a significant boost for local retailers as well. It’s exactly what our local communities need.”

Sir Tom Hunter invests £100m into West Lothian 3,500 homes project

Sir Tom Hunter

Sir Tom Hunter

Sir Tom Hunter has made a £100 million investment in a scheme for a new village in West Lothian.

The Ayrshire entrepreneur (pictured) has taken control of the giant Winchburgh development 11 miles west of Edinburgh where 3,500 new homes are planned along with a mix of retail and industrial space.

Sir Tom’s West Coast Capital investment business is understood to have bought out a number of shareholders in the development in recent months, putting it in the driving seat for the scheme.

The latest accounts for the West Coast Capital Holdings property business filed at Companies House show the company recorded £107m work in progress in respect of Winchburgh at the end of its last financial year, on March 30.

The company expects there will be five housebuilders on site at Winchburgh in January, reflecting strong demand for homes in the area. Barratt and Miller have started work.

Sir Tom told The Herald: “We view this, in our patient capital model as a 20 + year development so undoubtedly we’ll see a couple of recessions and maybe a financial crisis thrown in so we need patience, determination, financial stamina and of course a wee bit of luck.”

West Coast Capital Holdings returned to the black in the year to March 30. It made a pre-tax profit of £1.6m compared with a loss of £64.2m in the preceding year.

Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey set to join FTSE 100

FTSE 100

Two of Britain’s biggest housebuilders Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey are to join the FTSE 100 index, it has been announced.

The decision, which was made by a committee of market experts yesterday, will become effective after market close on December 19.

The companies’ shares have gained 30 per cent and 20 per cent respectively this year on the back of Britain’s rising property market.

They will replace Petrofac and IMI on the London Stock Exchange.

The LSE said on Wednesday that the six companies on the FTSE 100 reserve list, which is used in the event of a merger, delisting or suspension, would be Amec Foster Wheeler, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Inmarsat, Investec, Merlin Entertainments and Pennon Group.

Companies entering the FTSE 250 – often regarded as a better barometer of the state of British business than the multinationals on the blue-chip index – will be bakery chain Greggs, newly floated shoe firm Jimmy Choo, and retailer Game Digital, along with investment firm Allied Minds, property group CLS Holdings and Spirit Pub Company.

Foxtons is one of the companies falling out of the FTSE 250. Shares in the estate agent have fallen 44 per cent since floating in September 2013.

Others losing their place include EnQuest, Fenner, Ferrexpo, Hochschild Mining and Spirent Communications.

Stonehaven housing and supermarket plans refused by councillors

Mill of Forest development

Aberdeenshire Council has rejected two major developments in Stonehaven.

Barratt East Scotland and Drum Development Co Ltd were seeking planning permission in principle for 1,500 homes and a supermarket in the Fetteresso area.

The Mill of Forest development, which would be on land south of Mansefield Cottage in Kirktown, includes a primary school, business units and a health centre. And 25 per cent of the 1,500 homes were marked for affordable housing.

Councillors on the Kincardine and Mearns area committee backed the recommendations by planners and unanimously refused the developments.

A report by infrastructure services director Stephen Archer said aspects including the creation of a supermarket would have a detrimental impact on Stonehaven’s town centre.

Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor Peter Bellarby said: “A possible retail development would have an adverse impact on the town centre.

“Scottish planning policy states we need to look after our town centres and give them priority over retail development.

“There has been considerable opinion in Stonehaven t hat there should be a supermarket somewhere – this is not it.”

Cllr Bellarby also said the proposal went against both the current and emerging Local Development Plan (LDP).

He added: “This proposal is really contrary to the aims of Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council’s strategic development plan.

“This committee has thought long and hard about what Kincardineshire and Mearns needs in terms of development. There is no justification for this.”

Approval granted for 167 new homes in Stirling

Barratt HomesPlanning approval has been granted for a Barratt Homes development of 147 new homes in Stirling, bringing more than £20m of new investment to the area.

Plans for Highland Gate comprise of a range of three bedroom terraced, semi-detached and detached homes, and four bedroom detached homes from the house builder’s Caledonia range, designed exclusively for Scotland. A further 20 homes will be built for Stirling Council.

With approval now granted, work is expected to start on site later this year with the first homes ready to move into next summer.

Steve Mariner, sales and marketing director for Barratt Homes West Scotland, said: “Stirling is a beautiful city where homes for families, couples and commuters alike are in high demand. Highland Gate will bring much-needed housing to the area as well as significant investment, and as part of our commitment to new and existing communities we will make important contributions to education and transport facilities in the area.”

Back to back NFRC solar awards for Forster Roofing


Forster Roofing picked up the NFRC Scottish Roofing Contractor of the Year Award for Solar for the second successive year at a special luncheon held at the Trades Hall of Glasgow last week.

The award was Forster’s sixth Scottish Roofing Contractor of the Year Award in five years, following previous successes in the Services to the Community, Roof Tiling, Roof Slating and Solar categories.  At last year’s event Forster picked up the Solar award for its involvement with the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Athletes Village and in 2012 scooped the Sustainable award for its involvement with the Fife Housing Innovation Showcase.

This year’s winning project involved the installation of Solar Century’s C21e solar tiles in conjunction with roof tiling works for Barratt Homes, at its Evolution development in Aberdeen.  The well situated city centre development of executive apartments presented Forster’s with the perfect opportunity to showcase its skills in combining roofing and PV installation services.  It also shows how PV, particularly in-roof systems can present a relatively simple measure in helping meet new build carbon reduction targets.  454 C21e PV tiles were fitted on five of the sites 13 flatted blocks.  This included a 172 tile (8.6kWp) and 144 tile (7.18kWp) array on the two prominent entry blocks.

Forster have worked with Barratt Homes for over 20 years and have also combined its roof tiling and fully integrated PV installation service at Barratt’s Devona Gate, Dyce and Pinefields, Inverness developments.

Forster Roofing managing director Steve Scott, who collected the award from TV Presenter, Kaye Adams, said: “Back to back Solar awards is a fantastic achievement and recognises our commitment to excellence and innovation in combining our roofing and solar PV services with the latest integrated PV products.”

The NFRC Scottish Roofing Contractor of the Year awards recognise and reward outstanding standards of workmanship and technical expertise in the roofing industry within Scotland.

Meanwhile Forster Energy is to support of Homes for Scotland’s 3rdAnnual Conference ‘Building Homes for Scotland Post Referendum’ by sponsoring the ‘Overcoming Challenges’ session.

The full day conference will be held at the Roxburghe Hotel in Edinburgh this Thursday 30th October, and will look at key themes relating to growth in the Scottish housing market.

The ‘Overcoming Challenges’ session includes talks by Lynne Sullivan OBE (Chair of The Sullivan Report) on Delivering Low Energy Homes, Douglas Millican (CEO of Scottish Water) on Playing a Part in a Successful Scotland and Phil Ford (Strategic Partnerships Director, CITB) on addressing Skills Challenges.

As session sponsors Forster Energy will be exhibiting its new in-roof PV display and discussing with delegates how PV, particularly in-roof systems can present a relatively simple, cost effective measure in helping meet new build carbon reduction targets.

Barratt chief calls for more Government backing for Help to Buy

Mark Clare

Mark Clare

The Scottish Government needs to put more money into the Help to Buy scheme or risk dampening the housing market, the chief executive of Barratt Developments has said.

Mark Clare said the housebuilding giant is keen to invest in Scotland but its enthusiasm could wane unless the Government provides further support for the market under the Help to Buy scheme.

Speaking in The Herald, Mr Clare welcomed reforms to the property tax regime announced by the Scottish Government in the Budget last week.

However, he was disappointed that the Scottish Government did not include any additional funds for the Help to Buy scheme.

Noting the Government announced £125 million of financial transactions for the housing sector without providing details, Mr Clare said: “We don’t know what that means. It could be social housing, could be Help to Buy, could be something else.”

He added: “Until we know what it is we will just have to carry on on the basis that we have limited funds for Help to Buy in Scotland, and that will obviously affect in a way our investment and the ability of our customers to buy.”

Mr Clare was positive about the Scottish Government’s plans to replace Stamp Duty with a Land and Buildings Transaction Tax from April.

“The good thing is we have gone away from a slab tax,” said Mr Clare, who reckoned the new tax would provide most help to people who were hoping to buy their first home.

Noting the bulk of Barratt homes sell for less than the £325,000 threshold at which the building tax payable will be higher than that under Stamp Duty, he said: “The bulk of customers I think will benefit or won’t be affected negatively.”

Mr Clare said Barratt had been making good progress in Scotland.

Sales volumes increased by 40 per cent annually last year, with support from Help to Buy. The company built around 1,000 homes in Scotland and has acquired a further 21 since then.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We will continue to monitor the Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme and will look at ways of making sure everyone in Scotland has access to good-quality, affordable homes.”

The spokesman added: “More than 3,000 homes have been purchased through Help to Buy (Scotland) with an additional 1,500 expected to be completed by the end of the financial year.”