One-on-one interview: Toby Ballard of Strongvox
Marc Da Silva continues his series of interviews with prominent figures from the housebuilding industry by speaking to Toby Ballard, managing director of Strongvox.
Where in the West Country is your firm developing new homes?
At the moment we have developments in Dawlish, Bideford,Portishead, Bishops Lydeard, Trull and Minehead.
What are housing market conditions currently like in those areas?
Generally very good but you still need to be building a quality product and spend time making sure that the house layouts and specification are right.
What types of properties is your firm developing?
For the first time we are building everything from two-bedroom coach houses over garages right up to very large five-bedroom detached houses with triple garages.
What projects are Strongvox currently working on and what's in the development pipeline?
We are getting close to the end of our largest development to date of 131 properties at Dawlish in Devon; these range from two-bedroom flats to five-bedroom detached houses. We have just opened two showhomes on our development of 66 two- and three-bedroom properties in Bideford, North Devon. Our site at Portishead featuring nine new houses is progressing well and we have recently opened a showhouse.
Work has recently started at Sandhill Park, Bishops Lydeard. Here we are building 28 detached houses in the grounds of a stunning Grade II listed mansion house. The site is approached by a private drive through the park land and we will be building our largest five-bedroom detached houses to date.
Work is due to commence at Minehead for 37 houses and Trull near Taunton for 30 houses. Additionally, planning applications are about to be submitted for 35 houses in Milbourne Port, Dorset, 66 houses and flats Pinhoe, Exeter and 84 houses in Wellington, Somerset.
How much does a new home by Strongvox typically cost to buy?
Prices start at about £150,000 and will be circa £700,000 at Sandhill Park.
Why should more buyers consider buying a new build home as opposed to older property?
We spend a lot of time designing beautiful homes and there really is no disadvantage from a design perspective from buying an older property. Coupled with the huge benefits with regard to energy efficiency and reduced maintenance I think more people should consider buying a new build home.
What is Strongvox's USP?
We are a small private housebuilder that does not build the same standard houses everywhere.
Which of the developments Strongvox is currently developing do you think stands the best chance of winning a What House Award?
Sandhill Park - this will be a very special development.