Development Day Trip
I mainly focus on the fundraising and marketing activity as well as managing the day to day running of the business and leave the selection of the development sites and their progress to our property department team. Most days, I am in the office all day. It was therefore a welcome change on Friday to get out of the office and spend the day with Justin Molloy, our Development Director/Chief Project Manager, visiting several of our developments at various stages of construction. And as I have personally invested in several of the House Crowd Development sites, I was interested from the viewpoint of an investor to see how they were progressing and how our clients’ money is being looked after.The fact that it was a nice bright sunny day (yes, we do occasionally get them up North) made it all the better. Justin claimed later it was like showing the Queen round on a state visit – though I’m not quite sure what he was implying by that remark.
Anyway, we started off in West Cheshire at Frodsham, where our team has cleverly converted the Old Library into 14 luxury apartments – many of which are duplexes. It was great to see how the old beams and stained-glass windows have been incorporated into small but well-designed apartments. And hats off to Marie our interior designer for making the show apartment look so spectacular (we have had six offers on it so far).
Then off to Bridge View – 19 houses is in a superb position on a lovely canal with the Broken Cross pub enticingly positioned just across the water. The development is progressing well with foundations now laid for all plots and the show house due for completion by April.
Next, we drove to East Cheshire to our site at Crewe. This has been set back 6 months due to issues with a newt (yes, it really does happen). We now have newt fencing up and the all clear to proceed. Not much to see at present as it’s still just a gigantic mud bath but it’s a great location, close to both Leighton hospital, the Bentley factory and the town centre. With prices at around £200k for a family home we are confident they will prove very popular.
Then up to Sandbach where we have recently completed both Parkside and Springfields, a total of 24 houses. Both developments look very attractive and have several people moved in with other sales progressing. I felt proud to see the finished houses and meet some of the happy residents (sorry about getting mud on the lovely clean carpet, in the show house, Marie). We had a hot roast beef sandwich lunch (yum yum) from the butchers in the lovely town centre before setting off to Buckton View in Mossley.
Now this is an impressive site. The first three houses are nearing completion and the foundations of the 33 others are in place. Our contractors on this site, CPUK, are a large firm with a turnover of circa £100M p.a. It is clear that the site is being very professionally managed and as with all our current sites we have been granted ‘Considerate Contractors’ status.
The drainage of the site has proved problematical with the council and United Utilities changing their mind about what was required several times. The drainage pipes being put in place are enormous and will be more than adequate to deal with the rain common in these parts, due to the Pennines and the low pressure coming in off the Irish sea.
As I mentioned it was a glorious sunny day and I envy the purchasers of these homes who will be able to sit out on such days and enjoy spectacular views. We took a little detour to Saddleworth so Justin could show me some of the housing developments he did over 20 years ago – I was pleased to see they’re still standing … and looking good!
Saddleworth is an area I have heard lots about but never been to before. We visited Upper Mill a gorgeous busting village in Saddleworth which becomes a mecca for ramblers and cyclists in the warmer months.
And next – onto Fox Owl Rise, a development of 54 houses which, if anything was even more impressive than Buckton View.
Given that Justin only joined us in July 2017, its amazing that we are now building over 240 properties under his supervision. Full credit to him for bringing on so many properties. Again, the site is clearly being run very professionally and is a hive of activity. The ‘pot and beam’ flooring system (long concrete beams for the uninitiated – like me) is currently being laid to the units and roads are drainage are 99% complete as is most of the piling (long metal and concrete posts but vertical this time.
Then finally back to Altrincham to meet with our architects for our project at Manchester Road, Wilmslow which has just started construction, before heading off for a well-earned Friday drink.