Solid Progress in First Half of 2017

Hallam have had a very good start to the year concluding the sale of eight sites for 960 houses in the period to the end of June 2017. Furthermore we exchanged two contracts for the disposal of 416 housing plots for completion in the second half of the year, and three further sites that were at an advanced stage of negotiation, totalling 592 housing plots, have since completed.

At 30 June 2017, Hallam held interests in 169 sites, equating to 12,131 acres, of which 1,766 acres are owned, 2,679 acres are under option and 7,686 acres are under planning promotion agreements, up from 11,416 at this stage in 2016. It was pleasing to win planning permission for 2,675 plots during the period and at 30 June 2017 we had 17,987 plots for sale across 53 sites, with a further 9,706 plots the subject of planning applications in progress, across 27 sites.

Housebuilders continue to report very positively regarding their UK activities, despite a slowing down of house sales in the wider market, with the government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme supporting the new homes market. We continue to see good levels of demand for our consented portfolio as we bring these sites to the market and the recent general election outcome does not seem to have affected house builders’ interest. Nevertheless, it seems likely that one outcome of the election result will be a period of stability in the planning system with all parties seeing housebuilding as important to the wider economy, with little appetite to make significant legislative changes.

We look forward to the second half of 2017 with confidence and given that the substantial majority of our business for this year is now at an advanced stage of completion, we are able to look to the future where we have already exchanged four sale contracts that will complete in 2018, and are in advanced discussions with housebuilders on a further six.

Another Positive Year for Hallam

Hallam increased both the acres of land it held in its portfolio and the number of consented plots it had on that land during 2016.

The year started very positively. Ahead of the EU referendum, Hallam Land had exchanged or completed the bulk of its 2016 budgeted sales. Furthermore, we exchanged several sites for completion in 2017 and 2018. For the UK house builders, the uncertainty caused by the referendum vote initially created a slowdown in land acquisition, however, through the autumn, they re-entered the land buying market, albeit with increased hurdle rates in less attractive locations. In the early months of 2017, house builders continued to show strong interest in high quality sites and good market areas. The recent Housing White Paper is broadly supportive of increased delivery of housing, albeit with a focus on the affordable end of the market.

During the year, we sold 16 sites comprising 1,609 residential plots, coupled with land having consent for employment use at Lutterworth and Bridgwater and land consented for a public house at Cranbrook, Exeter. We secured new planning consents for some 5,800 plots during the year and at the end of 2016, we held a portfolio of 16,417 plots with planning consent, a 36% increase on 2015. Our total land interests at 31 December 2016 were 11,888 acres (2015: 11,061 acres), of which 2,405 acres (2015: 1,982 acres) had planning consent with a further 1,078 acres (2015: 1,160 acres) allocated for residential development; the remainder we are promoting through the planning permission and allocation process.

Key Projects

The first six months of the year saw the disposal of two successful schemes at Kettering and Marston Moretaine. The East of Kettering scheme sits within the 5,500-unit strategic urban extension for the town and outline planning consent was granted in 2015. As is often the case with large, strategic sites, in order to successfully dispose of development land once outline consent has been achieved, a significant amount of time and resource needs to go into delivering the relevant service infrastructure to enable house builders to build houses. In early 2016, final collaboration agreements were secured with the service providers and owners of the wider site, allowing 174 plots to be sold to Barratt with provisions that require them to service our retained land, comprising 264 plots.

The second significant sale of 2016 was at Marston Moretaine, a site which we have owned since 2007 with a first tranche sold in 2013. In September 2016, we completed a second tranche for 180 plots, and a third tranche of 183 plots is contracted for sale in 2017.

Though no further residential land was sold at Cranbrook (the 3,500-unit new community outside Exeter), residential sales values remained strong and we expect to see a further land sale here in 2018. At Kingsdown, our urban extension at Bridgwater, the decision to build Hinckley Point nuclear power station brought with it increased interest in the site. A parcel of consented employment land was sold to the Homes and Communities Agency to progress a starter homes scheme, and a conditional contract was entered into with Persimmon for 130 plots, which we expect to complete in 2017.

During 2016, we obtained a significant planning consent, subject to Section 106 agreement, at Didcot for a 2,170-unit scheme which sits within a 4,200-unit housing site. We anticipate making significant progress on this scheme during 2017, with a first, part-disposal expected in 2018. The Didcot area has a strong housing market with good potential for family housing well within commuter distance of London.

Outlook for 2017 and beyond

2017 has started well with 850 plots exchanged for sale as we entered the year, and a further 290 plots exchanged with completion subject to detailed planning consent. A further two sites are close to exchange and we hope to complete these sales during 2017.

We expect the house builders to remain cautious about the implications of the EU referendum and, therefore, selective when purchasing land, however, we have entered the year in a strong position. We have a strong land portfolio with a substantial number of sites available for sale and, at this stage, we anticipate that 2017 will be another year of steady progress.

 

 

New Appointments/Movements at Hallam

We have welcomed a number of new staff members during the last few months as we look to enhance our operational coverage within our regional teams.

In Glasgow, Clara Thompson joined us in September 2016 in the role of Development Planner; Clara has had previous experience with the Strategic Development and Delivery team at Aberdeenshire Council and studied at the University of Dundee for her Geography degree and MSc. Kathleen Dall also joined us at the Glasgow office as an Administrator to cover for Lisa Lees who is on maternity leave. Congratulations to Lisa and her husband on the birth of their daughter.

Anthony Greaves has now moved full-time to the North Midlands region from the North East region, and will continue his role as Area Manager based at Banner Cross Hall in Sheffield.

In Manchester, Samuel Payne has been appointed as a Development Planner, to join our Regional Manager, Katie Dean and Amanda Thompson. Samuel has worked previously for NPL Estates and Prospect Homes prior to joining Hallam.

Jonathan Collins was promoted to Regional Manager in January 2017 has been with the company for over 10 years now, he started working in the North East region but has been with the North Midlands team for the last four years.

The South Midlands region based in Northampton saw the appointment of Daniel Sampson as a Development Planner in January this year. Also at this time Tom Thornewill was promoted to Area Manager and along with Peter Glazebrook, Director, Sally Miller, Fraser Campbell and Sue Marracco, the Northampton team are ready to maximise opportunities in the South Midlands.

In London we saw the appointment of Charlie Reynolds as a Development Planner in August 2016 to complement our team based in the South East. Charlie studied at the University of Brighton for his BSc Geography degree and also an MSc in Town Planning. He has also worked previously for Strutt & Parker in Lewes.

As we moved forward in 2017 we look to the future with a team of talented and loyal staff.

 

 

Positive Start to 2016

Hallam Land had a very strong start to the year, successfully completing six residential land sales before the EU referendum vote and exchanging on a further three sites which will complete in the second half of the year, including a six acre parcel of employment land in the Midlands. These sales were the key driver behind the Henry Boot Group’s strong financial performance in the half year under review.

At 30 June 2016 Hallam held interests in 11,416 acres (December 2015: 11,061 acres), 1,740 acres owned, 2,606 acres under option and 7,070 under planning promotion agreements.

It was pleasing to see 4,175 residential plots secure planning consent/minded to grant planning consent, during the period. At 30 June 2016, we have 15,183 consented residential plots available for sale (December 2015: 12,043 plots) across 47 sites, with a further 9,500 plots, the subject of planning applications in progress, across 18 sites.

The EU referendum vote on 23 June 2016 saw the UK house builders review land acquisition activity pending clarity on the housing market demand. Some two months on we have seen some land buying confidence return, with appetite for smaller scheme sizes with longer payment deferrals but at broadly maintained pricing levels. We expect these market conditions to continue until the implications of the referendum vote, with regard to the UK housing market, become clearer.

The first half of the year was not only pleasing from a profit perspective; cash to be collected in the second half will provide the resources to make additional land purchases over coming months, especially if the economy softens, further replenishing our freehold stock as well as acquiring additional option and promotion agreements. With the majority of the sales for 2016 now contracted, we are looking ahead to completions in 2017 where we already have two sites at an advanced stage and are, post the referendum, in contract negotiations on a further six.

Good Progress in 2015

2015 started with a period of pre-election uncertainty but, once concluded, our house builder customers once again made land purchases. As the year progressed, we found house builders becoming more selective as they replenished their land banks towards the required level. However, high quality consented sites in good locations continue to be highly sought after and to command good price levels.
During the year we sold sites at Cranbrook (Exeter), Nuneaton, Chellaston (Derby), Haddington, Biddenham (Bedford), Frome, Repton, Pontefract and Edinburgh. In total, our interests in 1,763 plots were sold, a 59% increase on 2014’s 1,107 plots.

The new Government confirmed its commitment to housebuilding, most notably by enforcing National Planning Policy Framework guidance on a five year land supply. We won a number of appeals during the year, including one at Warton, Fylde, where we secured permission for 360 dwellings in advance of an emerging Neighbourhood Plan. During the course of the year we achieved planning consent (or consent subject to a Section106 legal agreement) on our sites in Aldingbourne, Aslockton, Chesterfield, Coxhoe, Haddington, Langho, Launceston, Lutterworth, Market Harborough, Marston Moretaine, Prestonpans, Woodville, Selby and Handcross. At the end of 2015 we had increased our total land interests to over 11,000 acres, 1,982 acres of which has planning consent for over 12,000 plots, and 1,160 acres is allocated in a plan for residential development.

We see the current balanced marketplace continuing through 2016. We will continue to invest in our land portfolio, having careful regard to ensuring our investments are focussed where house builders wish to build, whilst carefully managing our overall investment in the sector. Selectively, the business will seek to secure agreements which benefit our commercial development activity companies, in particular, Stonebridge Projects and Henry Boot Developments.

Cranbrook, the new 3,500 unit community at Exeter; Kingsdown, our urban extension at Bridgwater, and New Lubbesthorpe, a 4,500 unit urban extension west of Leicester, all had a very good year. Cranbrook saw residential occupancies exceed 1,150 (in the two and a half years since residential sales commenced), the opening of a railway station (on the London Waterloo line) and both a secondary school and a second primary school were completed and opened. Development at Kingsdown, Bridgwater, continued with further residential sales anticipated in 2016. Henry Boot Developments are also close to securing a commercial development on the main A38 road frontage. New Lubbesthorpe, a scheme of 4,500 dwellings (where we have an interest in 1,593) commenced development and our investment in this major urban extension will create returns over the longer term.

We successfully sold part of our long-term investment at Biddenham, Bedford, during the year and we forecast further parts will also be sold in 2016 and 2017.

Significant new investments were made during the year at Grazeley, south of the M4 at Reading, and Coventry. Other key strategic sites within our portfolio progressed well during the year; Market Harborough (450 plots) secured a minded to grant planning consent; the first phase of Kettering East (438 plots) was conditionally exchanged to a national house builder; and Phase 2 of Marston Moretaine (365 plots) was granted planning consent in December 2015, the first phase having been sold successfully in 2013 to Bovis Homes, and we expect to market part of this scheme in 2016.

Outlook for 2016 and beyond.

2016 has started well with two site sales already concluded and a number of others progressing well for completion later in the year; 180 plots were sold in Alton, Hampshire, and seven acres of employment land were unconditionally exchanged in Lutterworth.

We expect the house builders to remain selective when purchasing land in 2016 but we have a strong land portfolio with a supportive planning regime, a substantial number of sites available to the market and, at this stage, we anticipate that 2016 will be yet another year of good progress.

SALE CONCLUDED AT BIDDENHAM, BEDFORDSHIRE

Hallam and its joint-venture partner The Harpur Trust have completed a multimillion-pound land sale to Bovis Homes and Linden Homes.

The sale of the site in Biddenham in Bedfordshire represents the culmination of 17 years of work by Hallam which started with the acquisition of a small part of the site in 1997.

Hallam continued to acquire additional parts of the site, obtained a detailed planning permission and been in constant liaison with Bedford Borough Council in respect of key infrastructure works.

The disposal of the site to Bovis and Linden will result in the eventual construction of more than 700 new homes, a school, playing fields and country park. The deal will also see the long-awaited completion of the Bedford Western Bypass.

Nick Duckworth, Director of Hallam, said: “On behalf of Hallam Land Management and the Harpur Trust I am delighted that we have been able successfully to conclude this transaction after a significant amount of work over almost 20 years. We look forward to seeing Bovis Homes and Linden successfully develop the site and to working with them in future.”

2013 HALLAM REVIEW

Hallam had another very active year in 2013. Whereas 2012 was very productive in terms of obtaining planning permissions but quiet in terms of sales trading, 2013 has seen an upturn in the number of site disposals and continued further success securing planning consents. The strategic land market has shown a steady improvement throughout the year and those areas of the country where land sales proved difficult in the recession have reduced in number and in size. As a consequence, we achieved a higher number of land disposals this year. Prices have moved up steadily across the board, although deals still remain very difficult to complete as a result of the complexity of due diligence undertaken.

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ALL CHANGE IN SCOTLAND

Gary Smith was appointed as a Director of Hallam Land Management Limited with effect from 1st January 2014.

Gary joined the company in 1998 having previously worked for Compaq Computer Manufacturers. Gary started with Hallam as a Temporary Assistant Land Buyer and has had a number of roles within the company, he was previously promoted to Regional Manager in January 2012. Gary has enjoyed much success over the last 15 years in obtaining land sites and securing planning permissions in the central belt of Scotland. He enjoyed time away from the company in 2004 spending 18 months in Australia.

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HALLAM PROGRESS UPDATE

Hallam have had a productive year to date in terms of land disposals, helped by the significant number of planning permissions obtained in 2012 at Burdiehouse, Banbury, Evesham, Long Buckby, Mansfield and Nuneaton. Currently we have agreed terms to sell a further seven sites during the latter part of this year and the first months of 2014.

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HALLAM ANNUAL REVIEW

Hallam have had another successful year, despite a quiet year selling land with consent. Site disposals with planning permission were restricted to small sites at Mansfield, Desford and Bishopbriggs. The work we have undertaken to build value into our land holdings has not been reflected in the 2012 pure financial results. During the year, we worked on an unprecedented number of sites within the planning process and were particularly successful in securing planning permissions or minded to grant planning permissions on a large number of sites and further increased our site acreage.

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