House builder admits to land banking in the South West

The regional business on-line journal Insider News has an article by Richard Frost with Wainhomes trumpeting a massive 55% rise in profits for their South West division on the back of ‘a long land bank purchased at competitive rates’.

Wainhomes and their aggressive tactics are well known to residents in Feniton, who are currently awaiting the decision on the Super Inquiry heard in January into mass development in the village. One of the sites is for a 83-home extension to the existing Wainhomes site of 50 homes won at appeal despite massive local opposition in September 2012.

The site is well known for causing some of the surface runoff which floods the village at times of heavy rain and Wainhomes have been battling to control the levels of water by building earth bunds like some monstrous sand castle circling the site.

The admission by Wainhomes that they are landbanking is extraordinary given that this is a practice frowned upon by the Coalition Government which is eager to see an increase in house building to solve the housing shortage and pump up the economy.

The article, entitled Wainhomes boosted by South West profits jump, is reproduced below:

Profits have jumped by more than a half to £16.2m at the South West division of Wainhomes.

The business, which claims to be the largest house builder in Devon and Cornwall, also reported that it was expecting strong margins from future developments to underpin continued success.

According to its latest set of accounts, Wainhomes (South West) generated pre-tax profits of £16.2m in the year ending 30 June 2013, which represents a 55 per cent year-on-year rise. Turnover climbed by 22 per cent to £66.8m over the same period.

All of the profits and turnover came from house building projects in the UK.

The South West division, which is based at Okehampton in Devon, is behind residential schemes across Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire and Somerset. It also has several developments in the pipeline – in Wellington (Somerset), Barnstaple (Devon), Westward Ho! (Devon), Okehampton (Devon) and Bodmin (Cornwall).

In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The company has a long land bank purchased at competitive rates that should allow future developments to achieve strong margins which should underpin the continued success of the business.”

The accounts show that the business had an average of 81 employees including directors during the period.

Wainhomes (South West) is part of a much larger house builder, Wain Group Holdings.

According to its newly published accounts, Wain Group Holdings posted pre-tax profits of £22m in the year ending 30 June 2013, which is up by 57 per cent on a year earlier. Turnover climbed by 28 per cent to £120.3m over the same period.

A year ago, chief executive Steve Owen said the company was on track to hit the £120m-turnover mark in 2013.

Now Owen has told Insider that he is expecting another “significant improvement” in the current financial year.

He said: “In the past 12 months we have secured planning consent on land with a gross development value of over £350m and this will underpin the ambitious growth plans for the group beyond the current financial year.”

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2 Responses to House builder admits to land banking in the South West

  1. John Withrington says:

    Wainhomes has demonstrated contempt for the community of Feniton from the outset. The reason I got involved in protesting about mass development in the first place was when, at an open day in the village, the WH representative dismissively told me that it didn’t matter what people thought or objected, they were going to build hundreds of houses here anyway. Not that Feniton is unique – Wainhomes has made an obviously lucrative practice of buying up chunks of beautiful countryside in Devon and Cornwall and concreting over it. Doesn’t matter about flooding, narrow lanes, overcrowded schools, objections from locals/councils/MPs – what matters is their balance sheet. There’s not even the pretence of trying to work with the community. ‘Banking’ land is just another means of storing up profits for them and misery for the rest of us.

  2. Val Jones says:

    Wainhomes, like all the other developers, are making a fortune at the moment because Government policy is geared to house building – helping their chums make as much money as they can. It’s called “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”. Nothing changes. Government policy drives big business. Be under no illusion, they aren’t interested in providing homes for young people – their prices are out of reach. With interest rates so low, house building is aimed at pension pots and insurance companies who need to invest their funds. But these situations have a habit of going a full circle and these developers could be left with empty houses on their hands.
    In the meantime, the ordinary people who are most affected by this building – those who flood, who live in fear when it rains, those who watch raw sewage pour down the roads of Feniton when it rains, have to listen to the arrogance of these house builders who couldn’t care a less about the people of Feniton as long as their profits continue to roll in.
    We all said their site was responsible for much of the flooding in the village and as soon as it rained they found out, having to pump the water out and carry it away in tankers. Their answer has been now to construct earth banks to protect their site and to hell with the rest of us. What a load of cowboys they are turning out to be.

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