Hallam Land had a very successful year in 2018. Our UK housebuilder customers achieved strong house sales during the year and replenished their land portfolios in good market areas. 3,573 plots across 24 residential and three commercial schemes were sold during the year. Because of these sales, our consented site portfolio reduced to 16,489 plots; however, at the year end we had 11,929 plots which were the subject of planning applications, and we entered 2019 with 1,480 plot sales exchanged and awaiting completion in 2019.
As our strategic land portfolio is held as inventory, accounting policy requires these assets to be held at the lower of cost or net realisable value. In accordance with this policy no uplift in value can be recognised within our accounts relating to any of the 16,489 plots over which planning permission has been secured. Any increase in value created from securing planning permission over these assets will therefore only be recognised on disposal. Over a six year period, we have gained planning permission for 21,591 new plots, successfully sold 11,396 plots and built a land portfolio of plots moving into the sale process amounting to 16,489, in addition to the land we are now progressing through the planning system or waiting to come forward into the process.
We secured a total of 1,533 new consented plots during the year (or consents subject to Section 106 agreement) including sites at: Bilston (95 plots), Crowmarsh Gifford (75 plots), Evesham (220 plots), Sileby (195 plots), Warwick (90 plots), Wellingborough (600 plots) and Wetherby (210 plots). At the year end the Company held land interests in 14,325 acres (2017: 13,273 acres) as either freehold or under option/promotion agreements, including 2,599 acres with planning consent (2017: 2,884 acres).
During the year we made initial disposals at Market Harborough (226 plots) and Haverhill (450 plots), leaving 236 plots and 800 plots respectively for future years. At Market Harborough the balance of the holding is contracted for disposal between 2019 to 2021, whereas at Haverhill (south east of Cambridge) the balance will be marketed in 2021/22. As mentioned last year, we benefit from a significant asset at Didcot, comprising 2,150 plots and a share in a local centre, to the west of the town. During 2018, we selected preferred housebuilders and contract negotiations have commenced as we work to secure disposal of these plots.
Another significant project that progressed very well during 2018 was at Eastern Green, Coventry. During the year planners removed this site from the green belt and allocated it for a mix of residential and commercial development in the Coventry city local plan. At the turn of the year we submitted a planning application for 2,625 plots, 15 hectares of commercial development, a primary school and other community facilities. Coventry is largely surrounded by green belt and this is the most significant site coming forward for development within the City boundary. Our aim is to secure planning consent late in 2019 with development commencing in 2020/21.
At our other long-standing projects, Cranbrook, the 3,500-unit new community at Exeter, and Kingsdown in Bridgwater, steady progress continued during the year. At Cranbrook we sold 180 plots to a regional housebuilder, and successfully progressed our expansion plans for the new town, while in Bridgwater, 72 plots were sold to a national housebuilder. Both projects continue to perform well.
We commence 2019 in very good shape with 1,480 plots exchanged for sale and a further 237 exchanged subject to reserved matters planning approval. Additionally, our consented portfolio was bolstered in the first few days of 2019 when a long-standing scheme to the west of Worcester secured outline consent, subject to signing the Section 106 agreement, for 900 plots. We have been encouraged to see initial indications from the major UK housebuilders that they have traded, thus far, well through the period of uncertainty arising from the decision to leave the EU with no adverse impact on our contracted transactions and, therefore, we look forward to another solid year in 2019.
Hallam Land Management is a part of the Henry Boot Group of Companies.
The Modern Slavery Act 2015 - Group Statement: View here
“Henry Boot PLC and its Group Companies has, following the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the “Act”) implemented a number of measures which seek to bring about greater transparency and scrutiny into our various supply chains, in order to combat slavery and trafficking activities. Further to this, over the past year we have been reviewing the measures put in place and seeking to identify additional actions to strengthen our due diligence and transparency. The aim of the Act is in line with our own ‘Henry Boot Way’ Vision and Values, as updated in 2017, which include ‘Respect’, ‘Integrity’ and ‘Collaboration’, all of which are relevant to our approach in this regard.
We continue to keep under regular review our Human Trafficking and Slavery Statement (the ‘Statement’), setting out the activities undertaken to reduce the risk of slavery and trafficking activities being present within our business operations. These measures include the introduction of an Anti-Slavery Policy, due diligence requirements, and mandatory contract clauses seeking compliance by our supply chain with appropriate anti-slavery measures. Additional measures that have recently been put into place to increase knowledge and vigilance throughout our organisation and supply chain include posters and awareness cards across our sites.
We will continue to regularly work with our partners, contractors, suppliers and other stakeholders, as well as keeping industry best practice under review, to monitor our approach for effectiveness, and consider any changes or additional measures as appropriate.”
Click here to view the full statement.
Henry Boot PLC
Chief Executive Officer