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.
The main disposals achieved in the year were at Banbury, Evesham, Long Buckby, Mansfield, Nuneaton, Burdiehouse, Rolleston-on-Dove, Rothwell, and Desborough.
In the year, we secured planning permission (or minded to grant planning, subject to signing a planning agreement) on sites at Abingdon, Burton upon Trent, Chatteris, Coventry, Derby, Dunbar, East Leake, Haddington, Hailsham, Leeds (Oulton and Rothwell), Marston Moretaine, Nuneaton, Pontefract, Ripley and Southbourne.
We have continued to add land into our land portfolio with new sites being acquired in 2013 at Grazeley, Beverley, Coxhoe, Alton, Mortimer, Thame, Burton Latimer, Bradford, Doncaster, Frome and Swadlincote. At December 2013 we held interests in 9,723 acres (2012: 9,011 acres), with 1,791 acres being owned (2012: 1,765 acres), 3,184 acres held under option (2012: 3,466 acres) and 4,748 acres held under planning promotion agreement (2012: 3,780 acres). The continued investment in new sites and planning costs resulted in an inventory value of the assets of £83.9m (2012: £75.9m) across the 139 sites within the portfolio. At the end of 2013 we were in discussions on a number of new sites which have been identified as possible additions to the portfolio and expect to conclude on the majority of these in 2014, pushing our land interests towards 10,000 acres. We also continue to uncover good opportunities to acquire further land into our portfolio at competitive pricing levels and are actively looking to do so.