One-on-one interview: Gary Ennis of Barratt Developments
Marc Da Silva continues his weekly series of interviews with some of the most senior figures in UK housebuilding by posing the questions to Gary Ennis, southern regional managing director for Barratt Developments.
Where is Barratt Southern Region currently building new homes? The southern region of Barratt Developments is formed of five divisions and is the commuter belt area that surrounds London. This extends from Kent across Surrey and Hampshire and Middlesex round to Essex, reaching as far as Norfolk and Suffolk. Within this area, we currently deliver both David Wilson Homes and Barratt Homes. In total, this year we will be delivering close to 3,000 new homes.
What’s driving demand to live in those areas? There is strong demand from those who work in London but want to live in some of the attractive towns and villages in the lovely countryside beyond the M25. These areas can offer a more affordable option – and more space – for families and the relative peace and quiet often appeals to downsizers.
We’re also seeing strong job markets in towns outside London driving demand up – so it’s not all London-centric.
What types of properties is your firm building? As a general rule of thumb, we build the right homes for the right area in order to meet local demand. In Slough, Thurrock and Guildford, for example, we are building apartments in great locations close to train stations and vibrant urban centres. At the same time, in rural areas with good schools, such as Hartley Wintney in Hampshire, we are building much-needed family housing with excellent community facilities.
How much does a new home by Barratt Developments typically cost to buy? It is difficult to answer that question because we build different products for different homebuyers in different areas. We often sell family homes at around the £400,000 to £500,000 price range, however, this is totally dependent on the location and size of the property.
A one-bedroom apartment at Artisan Place in Harrow can be purchased from £190,000 using Help to Buy which would just require a 5% deposit. At Bure Meadows in Aylsham, near Norwich, we are currently selling two-, three- and four-bedroom homes ranging from £140,000 to £310,000. Near Godalming, in incredible countryside but within easy reach of London, a luxury detached five-bedroom home at Leithfield Park is currently on the market for £1,149,995.
What’s in the planning pipeline over the next 12 months? As you might expect, we always have a lot in the pipeline! We are particularly excited about the Cane Hill development in Coulsdon, a project which we have been working on for some years now and which has recently been given the go-ahead. We will start work on phase one this summer which will provide 187 new homes on the former hospital site. This will provide a fantastic range of quality new homes with plenty of open space and parkland which will appeal to a wide range of homebuyers looking to live in this popular location.
Could you tell us a bit more about Barratt Southern Region? Wherever we build, we pride ourselves on building quality new homes designed to the highest standards and, by extension, great developments which are a pleasure to live on and will enhance communities for years to come.
This year we were delighted that our region won ‘Developer of the Year’ at the National Urban Design Awards. This award reflects the hard work and commitment from every one of our five divisions in the South, as well as the rest of the country, to ensure that we continue to create great places to live. As a region, we are very proud that we have won Built for Life accreditation on five of our developments, with another five waiting final confirmation – we recognise that each site is a legacy on which we’re judged and gaining Built for Life certification is a good indicator of the success of that legacy.
Also, as a region we work hard to contribute to the communities where we build new homes. On top of our investment in local transport, services and the environment we support local schools, community groups and sports teams and our aim is that local people see the tangible benefits of the new homes we build and feel like partners in the process.
Which of your current new build developments do you think stands the best chance of winning a WhatHouse? Award? Montague Park is a fantastic award-winning development in Wokingham, Berkshire. The impressive new homes are complemented by an array of green vistas with a 30-acre country park situated on the edge of the development. The development will see a brand new neighbourhood centre with a variety of shops, children’s play areas, allotments and stunning open spaces, such as Buckhurst Meadow. New pedestrian, cycle and bus routes linking the development to Wokingham town centre will make every-day journeys easy and nearby amenities accessible for all.
Newbury Racecourse by our David Wilson Homes division also has the potential to win a number of awards. Due to its unique trackside setting, superb design features and enviable lifestyle choice on offer, this development never fails to impress.