Mactaggart & Mickel Group

Mactaggart & Mickel secures planning permission for second English housing development

Scottish housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel Homes has continued its expansion into the English market by receiving planning permission for its second development south of the Border.

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes England, part of the Mactaggart & Mickel Group, will deliver 38 new homes at East Challow, near Wantage in Oxfordshire.

The five-star Home Builder Federation (HBF)-rated housebuilder also recently opened an office in Cheltenham, where it will initially create around 20 full time jobs for local people.

The development will see a mixture of 25, two- to five-bedroom private homes and 13 one- to three-bedroom affordable homes. The private homes will be two-, three- and four-bedroom homes.

Craig Ormond, company director at Mactaggart & Mickel Homes England Ltd, said the move marks an important step for the company, following it move into the English housebuilding market as it plans to broaden its geographical reach to a UK wide audience.

He said: “We look forward to starting work at this exciting new quality development at East Challow.  As well as providing new quality housing, we will be working with local suppliers and contributing to the local economy. We plan to be on site later this year.”

Scottish housebuilders celebrate five star ratings from HBF

Joanne Casey and Linda McLean of Mactaggart & Mickel Homes receiving their HBF Five Star award

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes and CALA Homes have achieved the maximum five star rating from the Home Builders Federation (HBF) following an independent customer satisfaction survey.

The HBF Star Rating Scheme awards builders stars for customer satisfaction, based on homeowner feedback in an independent survey. Now in its 12th year, the survey questions owners shortly after moving into new build properties to establish their satisfaction with the quality of their home and the buying experience.

Star ratings are calculated on the number of customers who would recommend the builder to friends, with a five star rating requiring 90% or above.

Family housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel has earned the prestigious rating for the sixth consecutive year.

Joanne Casey, director at Mactaggart & Mickel Homes, said: “We are immensely proud of this achievement, because it reflects what our customers think about the entire house buying process with us – before, during and after the purchase.

“This continued success is testament to the skill and commitment of all colleagues – everyone takes pride in delivering each and every home we build.”

CALA scored in excess of 93% to achieve the maximum five stars.

Alan Brown, chief executive for CALA, said: “CALA has built a longstanding reputation as an award-winning homebuilder, but this accolade is particularly meaningful as it comes as a direct result of positive feedback from our customers. It also follows a year of record growth for CALA, with more than 1600 homes sold across the UK, an increase of 46 per cent from last year.

“Being a five-star homebuilder requires the commitment of the whole team from across the business. From land purchase right through to the final completion and beyond, every department is responsible for delivering an exceptional experience and superior product to our customers. The five-star rating is testament to the passion and hard work of everyone at CALA.”

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, added: “Achieving high levels of customer satisfaction is hugely challenging. It requires leadership from Board level downwards and commitment from all areas of a house building business and is a credit to every member of staff. A five star rating is not easy to achieve and is a very positive endorsement of the processes, systems and culture in place and should provide customers with real confidence in the company and homes they build.”

Round table discussion with Mactaggart & Mickel’s architectural team

SCN speaks to five female members of the architectural team at Mactaggart & Mickel Homes about their roles, balancing home and work priorities, and why designing houses is not ‘plain vanilla’.

Contributors:

Nicola McGuinness – architect

Joined Mactaggart & Mickel Homes in 2016. Has over twelve years’ experience in private practice as a project architect working on residential, education, retail and mixed use developments.

Susan Wilson – architect

Joined Mactaggart & Mickel Homes in 2016. Prior to that she spent seven years as company architect for another major housebuilder. Earlier experience was in private practice in Ireland and Scotland.

Sarah Carruthers – graduate architectural manager

Joined Mactaggart & Mickel Homes in 2015 after completing a university degree in architecture.

Joanne Young – architectural technologist

Studied in England. After graduation, spent six years working for a leading oak frame house builder in Hereford. Moved back to Scotland in 2016 and joined Mactaggart & Mickel Timber Systems

Jodi Webster – architectural technologist

Graduated in 2014 and spent time in private practice, specialising in retail sector.  Joined Mactaggart & Mickel Homes in 2017.

  1. Why did you join Mactaggart & Mickel Homes?

Nicola

The main reason I joined Mactaggart & Mickel Homes was for the exposure to different facets of the industry and the opportunities to develop different skills sets that private practice couldn’t offer. As a multi-disciplinary company, Mactaggart & Mickel embrace collaborative working. There are also a lot more women in senior roles than I have ever experienced elsewhere, which is very encouraging.

Jodi

I left private practice because sometimes you can get pigeon-holed – or at least I did. I was going to site three days a week and not getting to draw as much as I would of like. In my role at Mactaggart & Mickel I have more dedicated time to draw. It’s a great design team to be a part of and I get to use my Autocad and 3D skills.

Joanne

I’m a timber frame designer, based at Mactaggart & Mickel’s Timber Systems division at Bellshill. My background was in bespoke oak frame design but I am now learning about doing things on a much larger scale. This is a great way to develop my technical skills.

Sarah

After university, I knew I wanted to grow my technical knowledge quickly on completion of my Part 1 qualification. That’s why I opted to join Mactaggart & Mickel Homes rather than go into private practice. Although I have not worked elsewhere, the team are very supportive and encourage you to widen your skills.

  1. What are the benefits of working at Mactaggart & Mickel?

Jodi

There’s lots of project management as well as the formal design element. One person from an architectural perspective works on one project whereas in private practice there would be a team of people working on one project. You learn much more about how a business works, the commercial and planning processes that need to be progressed in tandem with what we do.

Nicola

The flexible working hours, exposure to different facets of the industry, being involved in a wide variety of tasks and the good remuneration package and benefits. The collaborative approach means an idea can be reviewed by all from the outset and you quickly understand if it is viable or not.

Susan

I was able to negotiate a four day week with a previous employer – instead of a proposed pay cut due to the recession – and Mactaggart & Mickel were happy to keep to that working arrangement. That flexibility is hard to find in architectural world, particularly for more senior positions.

Mactaggart & Mickel’s approach to flexible working is a huge benefit particularly when you have a family.

Jodi

I may be in the early stages in my career but Mactaggart & Mickel has welcomed my professional expertise since I joined. At MacMic everyone is valued for the skills they bring.  Whether you are male or female is irrelevant.

  1. Housebuilding at the volume end of the market is arguably not highly regarded in architectural circles. What’s your take on this?

Susan

At university housebuilding was seen as ‘the dark side’. Younger people often don’t aspire to work within the house building industry because they see it as a standard product with much less scope for creativity. This is a real shame because good quality architectural input could transform some of the housing developments going up around the country and besides it can be a very varied and rewarding job.

Sarah

The work may not be as technically challenging, but the challenge for us as designers is to push organisations to build homes that will ensure flourishing communities for generations to come.

I care about helping people. I want to build nice communities, and have a genuine desire to do this through my architectural expertise.

Everyone’s home is important to them. MacMic realise this and I think they strike the right balance between great design and commercial aspiration.

Nicola

There is still some snobbery around housebuilding as a place to build your architectural career.

Housebuilding is the ‘reality’ of architecture. The home is where most people come into contact with architecture – it affects us all. It is essential that we produce good design to allow us to build strong communities which can make a positive impact on people’ lives, as poor design can have a detrimental effect on society as a whole.

My role here is so varied. I am an architectural manager, which consists of being an architect, design manager and principal designer, and it’s clear that my own skill and experience are developing faster because of my exposure to so many different facets of the business.

Engaging with architectural students about the importance of having architects performing this role within a house builder is so important.

  1. Will the tide turn and housebuilding be viewed in a different way?

Susan

I don’t think there is any sign of this happening any time soon. Although maybe the fact that Nicola and I are both here is a sign that things are changing. Perhaps we, as the housebuilding industry, need to do more, to engage with universities and students considering architecture as a career and emphasise the difference they can make and the importance of this role. Housing affects us all and homes and communities that are not well designed can have a negative effect on people’s quality of life, health and so on, which in turn will affect our economy. Conversely, if people are proud of where they live, they look after their homes and they form stronger communities which has a positive impact.

Sarah

It’s important that architecturally-qualified people are involved in planning housebuilding as well as the homes themselves. That was not always the case in the past and good design seemed to fall further down the pecking order. But once you can demonstrate that it can be done well, with lasting benefits for society, then others will follow.

You have to be resilient and fight for good design at times. I believe many architects – female or male – currently working in private practice would enjoy working in this sector – but it is not being sold to them. They hear ‘housebuilding’ and immediately think ‘standard product’ and look elsewhere. My advice would be – take a closer look.

Joanne

There’s a bit of a disconnect between university and real life. Whilst studying you are asked to design quite grand ideas; for example I was ask to design a transport hub for Robin Hood Airport. It’s an exciting thing to work on but when you get into the real world you soon realise that it isn’t necessarily the day-to-day job.

If housebuilding was promoted to architectural graduates you would see a real benefit – for them and for the sector. Housebuilding is an excellent way to gain experience very quickly and it’s very varied. Looking at it as a timber frame designer, you are often working on multiple projects at any one time, different house types, private housing and social housing. It’s very fast-paced.

Susan

There are not many great examples of volume housebuilding in Scotland. Most are a bit bland and look very similar to each other. I can see why this would not inspire a would-be architect to go and work for a housebuilder. Perhaps we, as the housebuilding industry, need to do more, to speak to these considering architecture as a career and tell them: “You could make a difference here.”

Catch up with the rest of Scottish Construction Now’s International Women’s Day feature here.

Blog: Planning Bill lacks detail and shows modest ambition

Andrew Mickel

With submissions closing on the Planning Bill consultation last Friday, Andrew Mickel calls on politicians, communities, local authorities and housebuilders to work together to provide the change needed to deliver the homes Scotland needs.

Planning may not be the most exciting subject in the world, and most people don’t think about it often unless they are objecting to an application on their doorstep. However, the Scottish planning system has a massive effect on all our lives, not least by determining if, when, where or how much-needed new housing can be built. Whether major new developments are rejected or approved also influences Scotland’s economic growth. Did you know, for example, that every home built supports around four jobs?

In 2007, the current First Minister set out an ambitious target of building 35,000 new homes every year. Sadly we have retreated from this high water mark, despite the fact that with over 150,000 applicants for housing on local authority waiting lists and a growing population, there has never been a stronger case for significantly increasing housing supply in Scotland.

Ask any housebuilder if they could be granted one wish, and I’d bet that most of them would say they would like the planning system to be speeded up. While this is obviously in the best interests of housebuilders, economists would undoubtedly agree that a planning backlog negatively impacts our economy. Efforts to accelerate it, however, have not been particularly successful so far. If anything, it seems to be taking developments longer and longer to get through the approvals process.

A new planning Bill for Scotland, which is part of a wider process of reform, was introduced at the end of last year and is currently making its way through Parliament, with submissions closing last week. This Bill will introduce a series of changes to the current planning system, such as the establishment of an infrastructure levy, and revisions to simplified planning zones and compulsory purchase orders.

The Scottish Government is strong on rhetoric, shouting loudly about tackling the housing crisis, but putting this into practice is another matter. I want to see evidence of long term vision, but to me the planning Bill contains a worrying lack of detail and seems modest in terms of ambition. Perhaps this illustrates that the Scottish Government feels the system does not need fundamental change? Unlike the UK government, who have made their ambitions clear by promoting a housing minister to the cabinet and setting targets upon which they can be judged, the Scottish Government seems unwilling to set such a bar.

I believe we need to explore ways to improve capacity in local authority planning departments, which are under-resourced, with the aim of a quicker service and better quality developments. More ring-fenced resources for planning departments, for example. The new Bill offers little to reduce the complexity of application procedures or provide confidence in faster decision making. However, I am pleased to see compulsory training – and possibly even an exam – for councillors making planning decisions included in the Bill.

A real cultural change needs to be driven forward by the chief executives of every local authority in Scotland so that, instead of simply being reactive, planners are actively encouraging and supporting much-needed investment into their local areas.

I’d also like to see the First Minister publicly challenge members of her government who acknowledge the housing crisis at a governmental level, yet at a constituency level, lend their support to anti-development pressure groups.

In an ideal world, communities and local authorities would be able to plan their own growth, but they must be able to do this strategically. I do feel we need to involve communities at an earlier stage in the decisions that affect them, through more meaningful consultation, and this is something Mactaggart & Mickel strives to achieve. We also try hard to create sensitively designed new communities that complement their existing surroundings. If all housebuilders put a bit more thought into design and into early consultation with local people, perhaps we could reduce the level of objections, which would help streamline the planning process.

Our Airthrey Green development near Stirling, in conjunction with Graham’s Dairy, includes 600-home development and a national dairy centre. We are currently awaiting a decision from the Scottish Government on their application to proceed – and have reinforced the importance of this project in supporting Scotland’s renewed economic vision. As well as hundreds of homes, this will bring a primary school, neighbourhood centre, improved road infrastructure, a public park, 400 new jobs and a 50-person apprenticeship scheme to the area.

Another crucial benefit would be a £20m+ expansion of Graham’s dairy business in the form of a new dairy processing, research and development facility, helping to further support Scottish dairy farmers – and giving the country’s homegrown dairy industry a competitive advantage. This would be the largest single investment in the dairy sector in over 30 years.

Housebuilding is one of our most vital industries, which impacts on such a wide range of policy areas, from job creation and fuel poverty to quite simply putting a roof over everyone’s head. Isn’t it time we took down some of the barriers to making that happen?

  • Andrew Mickel is director of Mactaggart & Mickel Group

Shawfair takes important step forward as landmark development comes to market

The Shawfair regeneration project near Edinburgh has reached another important milestone with the launch of a 13-hectare commercially allocated development.

The biggest urban expansion near Edinburgh in modern times, the new town of Shawfair will have 4,000 homes, new schools, community facilities and a new town centre beside the existing Shawfair railway station.

Being built from scratch, the development will be a town of comparable size to Cupar, Dunblane or Linlithgow when completed and is set to secure 6,500 new jobs.

The latest move sees the Whitehill Road commercial development come to market from Shawfair LLP – a partnership between Buccleuch Property and Mactaggart & Mickel Homes.

The site is an allocated development site, under the adopted Midlothian Local Development Plan and is outlined for business and general industry use.

The Whitehill Road development site lies to the south of Newcraighall, known locally as Fort Kinnaird – the UK’s second largest retail park. It has a footfall in excess of 13 million people per annum and attracts visitors from across Scotland and the north of England.

Nick Waugh, director at Shawfair LLP, added: “Whitehill Road will be a tremendous catalyst for further growth within this prime commercial area and will provide a landmark location for this northern end of Shawfair. We very much looking forward to starting work on the high quality premises we aim to deliver here.”

Charity receives funding boost from Mactaggart & Mickel Homes

Edinburgh and Midlothian charity Home Link Family Support has received a donation of £1,000 from housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel Homes’ Building Communities Fund.

Home Link Family Support provides help to struggling families with young children who are not coping for a variety of reasons including poverty, disadvantage and family breakdown in Edinburgh and Midlothian. The services provided by the organisation include in-home support to families, counselling and antenatal support to women at risk.

The much-needed donation will go towards the Young Parents Service Midlothian, which provides specialised support to help young parents and families access services, build confidence in themselves, and improve interaction between parents and their children.

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes has a long history of supporting good causes. The Building Communities Fund was established to enhance the company’s ongoing efforts to help organisations and projects which enhance the lives of people within their local communities.

The fund is open throughout the year to applications from charities, community groups, sports teams and schools within a five mile radius of any Mactaggart & Mickel Homes development under construction, including Millerhill at Shawfair in Midlothian.

Applications for funding are assessed and awarded by a cross section of Mactaggart & Mickel employees.

Joanne Casey, director at Mactaggart & Mickel Homes, said: “The work that Home Link Family Support does has struck a chord with us all.  Young people and their children deserve every opportunity get the best start in life so that they and their family can succeed and thrive and it’s a privilege for us to be able to add our assistance.”

Paula Swanston for Home Link Family Support, added: “This grant from Mactaggart & Mickel Homes is wonderful news for struggling families with young children. Young parents may be struggling to cope for a variety of reasons but through dedicated volunteer support which comes to them in their homes, families can go on to thrive and children have a better start in life.”

For more information on the fund and to make an application visit www.macmic.co.uk/BCF.

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes to pay LBTT for first-time buyers in wake of Budget

A Mactaggart & Mickel Homes development at Millerhill

A Mactaggart & Mickel Homes development at Millerhill

Scottish housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel Homes has responded to the UK government’s announcement on stamp duty by announcing that it is following suit to help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.

In his budget announcement on Wednesday, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond made first time buyers in England exempt from stamp duty on the first £300,000 of the purchase price.

From today, Mactaggart & Mickel Homes said it will pay the LBTT, the Scottish equivalent of stamp duty, for first-time buyers purchasing homes priced at up to £300,000 until the end of April 2018.

According to the housebuilder, a family business with over 92 years of design and construction expertise with developments in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Glasgow, Ayrshire and the Clyde coast, a first-time buyer in Scotland can currently expect to pay £4,600 of LBTT on a £300,000 property.

Joanne Casey

Joanne Casey

Director Joanne Casey said: “Although the Scottish budget won’t be revealed until mid-December, we have taken the decision to act immediately and pay the LBTT for first-time buyers on homes priced up to £300,000. This will help more first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder, by saving them up to £4,600 when buying a Mactaggart & Mickel home.”

The firm’s announcement comes a day after a First Minister’s Questions session during which Nicola Sturgeon hinted that she would not copy the Chancellor’s move outright, but that alternative option was being examined.

She told MSPs: “As we finalise our budget in the next couple of weeks we will consider whether or not it is appropriate to give any further assistance to first time buyers.”

She indicated a tax break on purchases of up to £175,000 would help an equivalent level of first time buyers in Scotland as the £300,000 figure would in England.

The current threshold for paying LBTT is £145,000.

Blog: Learn the rules of engagement to help your business flourish

Marion Forbes

Marion Forbes

Given the current skills shortages in the construction sector, Marion Forbes outlines the key steps Mactaggart & Mickel Homes has taken to improve the recruitment and retention of staff.

The latest official employment figures for Scotland reveal a 4.7% drop in unemployment compared to the same period last year, with 88,000 more people in work compared to the pre-recession peak.

As the HR director of a successful housebuilder and developer, keeping an eye on employment trends is a key part of my role in ensuring that we recruit the best people, particularly in construction.

But just as important is how we engage the best talent in the business.

Most of us have come across organisations that talk about ‘valuing employees’ and the importance of ‘engagement’. But too often the discussion remains in the boardroom, however well intentioned.

This is surprising given that productivity levels in Britain are lower than in other developed western nations.

Tackling this issue is a complex one and there is no quick fix, but I believe that investing in a consistent programme of engagement and communication – something that values employees as human beings first and foremost – is at least part of the solution.

Why value and engage? Well, higher productivity for one, but it’s also about attracting the best talent in the first place. The best recruitment strategies focus on your ‘employer brand’ and the values that underpin this. For existing employees, engagement is about putting measures in place so that people want to do the best job they can. And if they flourish, so does your business.

Many of us remember the economic crash not so long ago. This slowdown prompted a realisation that Mactaggart & Mickel had to diversify, become more than a housebuilder. We took a long hard look at all aspects of our business.

A key finding was that communication could be better, so we began to consider the wider aspects of communication and its role in driving engagement. A first step was inviting colleagues working at all levels across the business to come up with ideas on how we could, collectively, improve.

That was several years ago and we have made good progress. The average length of service at Mactaggart & Mickel is 11 years. I’m proud of that figure – both as a director of a family-run organisation that genuinely cares about its colleagues, but also as a director of a successful company that wishes to continue to prosper.

But we are not resting on our laurels. We have just launched a new initiative to bring together everything we do to support and develop our people. It’s called Mactaggart & Mickel & YOU.

We chose the name carefully to highlight the importance we place on supporting, developing and caring for our colleagues to achieve their professional and personal goals. This is not just a great result for the individual, but also good for the company as we know from experience that supporting our people produces better company outcomes.

Our aim is to demonstrate the value we place on each member within the Mactaggart & Mickel ‘family’. We do our utmost to recruit the best people and we know they have a choice of where to work. We want them to choose us.

Mactaggart & Mickel & YOU covers four key areas; supporting staff not only in their career development but also to be happy and healthy; keeping them safe; ensuring mutual respect for customers and colleagues, and rewarding exceptional performance and commitment.

I’m not saying it’s easy, nor it is it cost-free, but here’s the thing: an effective engagement programme will start to show results within 12-18 months, especially when you compare the financial investment of the programme with the considerable cost of recruiting and training new staff. Far better to keep talented, dedicated people working for you, not the competition.

Today, our engagement programme is seen as part and parcel of the future success of the business, just as health screenings are good for the wellbeing of our employees. It’s no coincidence that we talk about the ‘MacMic family’. Because, when it comes down to it, it’s really all about showing that you care.

Mactaggart & Mickel Group announce increase in profit for fifth year in a row

Ed Monaghan

Ed Monaghan

Fourth-generation Scottish family housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel Group have today announced their financial results for the year to 30 April 2017 showing a rise in profits for the fifth consecutive year with profit before tax up 22 per cent to £12.7 million (2016: £10.4 million) and turnover increasing by 14 per cent to £74.3m (2016: £65.1m).

Mactaggart & Mickel’s flagship Homes division posted a robust performance.  Turnover increased by 12.7 per cent to £62m (2016: £55m) and gross profits rose to £15.1m (2016: £13.7m). The division sold 167 homes this financial year (2016: 169 homes) and saw its average house sale value climb to £351,000 (2016: £290,000) due to the development sales mix and careful targeting of high-quality locations. Two new developments were launched in Scotland this year: Red Lion in Newton Mearns and Millerhill at Shawfair in Midlothian.

One of the main drivers behind the Group’s impressive results is continued investment in their English Strategic Land business. Promoting these developments and successfully securing residential consents has proven beneficial in terms of this year’s land sales where turnover has increased to £4.7m (2016: £0.8m).

Mactaggart & Mickel Group’s long-term goal to expand into the English house building market reached a major milestone this year with the purchase of two sites for development in Oxfordshire, both expected to begin in 2018. This cements the Group’s ambition to expand and grow the company before a UK audience.

Chief executive Ed Monaghan said: “These results show that we have delivered an excellent financial performance, continued to grow the business and increased profits and turnover.  This has been achieved against a backdrop of investment in the development of our employees and continually improving and evolving the business.

“Realising our strategy to expand into the English house building market has been a significant milestone for the Group this year, and this focus will continue in the years ahead.

“Earlier this year we won the highly acclaimed Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village, as part of the City Legacy consortium – an enormous achievement for the whole team. I’m equally proud that we continue to be recognised for the top quality build projects that we deliver. Ultimately, client satisfaction drives our success and we have achieved a 5-star rating for customer satisfaction from the Home Builders Federation for the fifth year in a row, together with our full sales team securing accreditations from the Institute of Customer Service.

“The Group is in strong financial health and outlook remains positive for 2018 as we broaden our geographical reach and invest in new markets.”

Operational highlights include: 

  • Homes – turnover increased to £62m (2016: £55m)and gross profit to £15.1m (2016: £13.7m) with 167 units sold (2016: 169 units). Two brand new developments were launched this year – Red Lion in Newton Mearns and Millerhill at Shawfair in Midlothian.  The upcoming Homes England business made significant progress with the purchase of two sites in Oxfordshire, expected to begin in 2018.
  • Timber Systems – turnover at the Timber Systems division remained steady at £6.3m
    (2016: £6.3m)with gross profits relatively steady year on yearThe year saw an increase in the number and variety of external contracts, and the development of new products, plus the introduction of a new backshift at the factory, increasing operational efficiency to meet growing demand.
  • Contracts – the Contracts team has progressed plans for more developments of affordable homes and currently have over 100 units in the pipeline for upcoming sites at Symington, Killearn, Malletsheugh and Millerhill at Shawfair.
  • Commercial Property – the Commercial Property team achieved a turnover of £2.5m; their best year since establishment in 2009. They invested approximately £6.2m on two new acquisitions; a portfolio of four Iceland stores and retail units in the heart of Edinburgh with redevelopment potential.
  • Private Rented Sector (PRS) – the PRS division plan to grow their £60m portfolio in Scotland and England with continued investment in the London lettings market; their investment in this portfolio in 2017 almost doubling during the year to £10.3m.
  • Strategic Land– the Group’s Strategic Land division had an excellent year, realising their most profitable site to date in the village of Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire, and several more sites continue to be progressed through the planning system. This reinforces their strategy to diversify into markets and geographical areas where opportunities remain strong.
  • Investment – £20m was reinvested in the year in new land in both Scotland and England as well as new commercial property assets and an expanding London residential property portfolio.  The Group’s Investment Fund made investments in the year in private equity, start-ups and growth companies while maintaining healthy debt and gearing levels.

Over 500 new homes on track at new Midlothian community

(from left) James Palmer, associate director, Shawfair LLP; Joanne Casey, homes director, Mactaggart & Mickel Homes; Fraser Conn, sales director, Bellway; Neil Gaffney, area sales & marketing director, Miller Homes

(from left) James Palmer, associate director, Shawfair LLP; Joanne Casey, homes director, Mactaggart & Mickel Homes; Fraser Conn, sales director, Bellway; Neil Gaffney, area sales & marketing director, Miller Homes

A trio of housebuilders have outlined plans to deliver more than 500 new homes at the Shawfair community in Midlothian.

Bellway and Miller Homes are to build 358 new homes for sale or affordable rent to complement a nearby development of 170 new homes by Mactaggart & Mickel Homes.

Bellway’s contribution of 236 three, four and five-bedroom homes wide range of semi-detached and detached house styles will be located west of Shawfair railway station. The first homes are being marketed now with move in dates from summer 2018.

Miller Homes, meanwhile, is to pre-launch its adjacent site on October 28 from the ESPC showroom in George Street, Edinburgh, providing a further 122 three, four and five-bedroom family homes from May 2018.

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes’ development launched in April this year, with properties ranging from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom detached villas and an additional 32 affordable homes. The first residents moved in this summer.

As well as the much-needed homes, Shawfair will have schools, offices and retail outlets plus acres of landscaped outdoor space and cycle paths.  In time, an attractive town centre will create a focal point for the whole community.

LM_New_Homes_Shawfair_Community_011 lo resJames Palmer, associate director of Shawfair LLP, said: “Over 500 new homes signals a major step forward in making our vision for Shawfair a reality. New housing is desperately needed and I am delighted that Shawfair has attracted housebuilders of the highest calibre to help us achieve that vision.

“Properties are already selling well, with lots of interest from people who are attracted by the benefits of country living.  Shawfair is just 15 minutes from Edinburgh by train, and offers fast transport connections further afield. This is hugely positive news for the area, creating scores of jobs across the three sites.”

When complete, Shawfair will be the fourth largest town in Midlothian, roughly the same size as Cupar, Dunblane or Linlithgow.

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for housing, Councillor Stephen Curran, added: “It’s exciting to see the new town of Shawfair beginning to take shape.  That said, we realise it is a huge undertaking building a new town from scratch. It’s vital therefore, that surrounding communities are onboard every step of the way. We want to make sure local people feel listened to, that they understand what’s happening and how they can share in the benefits this new urban expansion will bring.

“This is an unprecedented development with a total value of £1.2 billion, able to support an estimated 6,500 jobs.

“The 20-year project, which includes 4,000 new homes – 20% or more of which must be affordable – represents the biggest urban expansion in Scotland in modern times. It will potentially pump almost £100m into the local economy each year once completed. That’s not just good news for Shawfair, that’s good news for the surrounding communities, Midlothian and Scotland as a whole.”