Skip to content

UK house builder pledges a return to traditional properties

According to leading UK House builder, Redrow, properties that focus on simplicity and good, functional design are what is needed in the coming years.
The group’s chairman, Steve Morgan, who returned to the company last year after almost a decade in retirement to turn the business around, is calling on planning authorities to actively encourage the building of traditional family homes, rather than residences that are ‘more at home in Stalingrad’.
Launching the group’s new Heritage range of homes inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s, he also said that people want tradition. ‘I felt enough was enough. People had stopped buying new homes and something needed to be done. We are not going to lose sleep about what trendy people from some organization say,’ he declared.
He admitted that he had been dismayed at the company’s move to a more downmarket product, and lambasted planning regulators for encouraging the development of apartments.
The new Redrow Heritage Collection offers 34 home designs with traditional exteriors and features such as a garden and garage. Morgan said he expects the new line, with its period-style properties, to make up 80% of output in two years’ time.
Morgan also said the group would be held back due to a shortage of land and a continued dearth of offerings in the mortgage market which is keeping potential buyers away. ‘We want to roll it out quickly but the only thing that is holding us back is planning policy,’ he explained.
He blamed red tape for the shortage of housing stock in the UK, though added that the land market is returning from its slump last year. ‘We’ve got 10 sites where we’re struggling to get planning. The planning process is too long,’ said Morgan.
Redrow had an output of 5,000 homes at the peak of the housing boom but sold just 2,100 homes last year. Now it plans to have 10 show complexes open by the end of April. The prices of the new line will range from £110,000 to £600,000 and will boost the average selling price of the group quite significantly, said Morgan.
The range is one of the new strategies launched by Morgan since his return to the company. He criticised the previous management for over enthusiasm towards apartments and townhouses.
Morgan, who is also owner of football club Wolverhampton Wanderers, also said that he does not foresee a double dip recession in the UK, but was cautious in his outlook. ‘I think this year will be tough, it will be a long haul for everyone, not just the house builders,’ he added.