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Placemaking, People And Community In South Wales

Posted 16 August 2021 by Helen Christie

We hear more about Cardiff as a ‘people place’ and being ‘Europe’s youngest city’...

We catch up with Shane Jay, regional technical director at Lovell, about placemaking, people and community.

Shane, what does your role as regional technical director at Lovell involve?

As regional technical director, I am responsible for the delivery of the technical, planning and development aspects of all projects from bid stage through to site completion. My role requires me to advise the Land and Partnerships Team on matters that may affect a bid for a piece of land or tender opportunity, such as planning, ground conditions, design, ecology and landscape. Once a site is secured legally, I am responsible for a team, who deliver planning permissions and technical approvals and prepare sites for construction. My team then provides ongoing technical support to our site teams to ensure that developments are completed in accordance with consents and regulation.

You oversee the Greater Cardiff area, what makes this location a great place to live?

Lovell work across the whole of South Wales, which boasts many diverse towns and cities, however our regional office is on the outskirts of Cardiff. Cardiff has something for everyone – it’s a people place and Europe’s youngest city. For striking architecture at its best look to the Wales Millennium Centre, home to a myriad of performing arts and standing tall in Cardiff Bay. Go shopping in style at St Davids, Cardiff or Grand Victorian Arcades and many of the boutique independents throughout the city. When Six Nations rugby is in town, the city roars with expectation and passion at the Principality Stadium. Even in the city you’ll never be far from the chance to stroll in one of over 330 parks and gardens including the landmark Bute Park which hosts many festivals and events.

We are located very close to the M4 so have great links to the towns and cities along the M4 corridor which stretches from Newport across to Swansea and beyond, but also have great links to the South Wales Valleys so are able to work with our partners to deliver new homes in popular valley locations for local people.

What are the main new build homes you’re working on at the moment at Lovell?

We are about to acquire two parcels of land from St Modwen on their Glan Llyn development in Newport, where we will be delivering 500 new homes with our partner, the Pobl Group. This scheme will see the provision of 285 new two-, three- and four-bedroom homes for sale and 235 new affordable homes for Pobl, which are a mix of socially rented and shared ownership. 

We have also recently commenced works on a new development of 528 new homes at the former Whiteheads Steelworks site in Newport with our partners Tirion and Welsh Government. The development, called Royal Victoria Court, is located off Mendalgief Road and will consist of high-quality design, creating a vibrant new place for residents to live. Lovell will be selling 264 homes one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom homes on the open market and delivering 264 affordable homes for Tirion. This new development follows our successful partnership with Tirion and Welsh Government at The Mill in Cardiff.

We have ongoing developments at The Mill, Canton, where we are delivering 800 homes in partnership with Tirion, Ymyl Yr Afon, Merthyr Vale, where we are building 153 homes in partnership with Merthyr HA and Golwyg Y Bryn, Ebbw Vale where alongside our partner Melin Homes are developing 100 mixed tenure new homes.

How is the Wales residential property market performing as we start to look beyond the pandemic?

It’s extremely robust. Like most, we were unsure of the effect the pandemic would have- It has actually proved to be quite a buoyant period. Delivery of our new developments and sales of our open market homes continued throughout the pandemic and we are still experiencing strong price growth and a consistent number of sales on our active sites. New homes completions have recovered well from the Covid disruption but planning delays which have impacted start on sites mean that site activity on new sites remains below usual levels and may limit future supply. Significant increases in material costs add pressure to on site delivery.

The Welsh housing market has had a strong start to 2021, with price growth and activity well above average, supported by pent up demand and the Land Transaction Tax (LTT) holiday. High price growth and transaction numbers are likely to continue into the summer before cooling slightly in the second half of the year.

What effect do you think the new stamp duty discounts being introduced in Wales from 1 July 2021 will have on buyer enthusiasm?

As stated above, we have continued to sell properties, albeit virtually and more recently by appointment only throughout the pandemic and lock down periods and interest in new build homes remains. The Land Transaction Tax (LTT) discounts in Wales will only support an already buoyant market with people’s budgets now being able to stretch further.

Do you offer any other incentives on your schemes at the moment?

We do not actively offer incentives on our new sales developments. Our experience is that our product sells itself. By designing and delivering our new developments in accordance with the placemaking principles, we are creating new communities which are desirable to a variety of potential purchaser. From young professionals, to families, to the older generation- we offer new homes to people whichever stage in life.

In your role as a technical director, what’s the most exciting technical enhancement that you’re aware of in new home building that’s been introduced in recent times?

The challenge to reach net zero carbon really is exciting. There are some fantastic products and methodologies out there in the market currently, e.g. holistic home serving energy systems, renewable technologies etc... which albeit are perhaps currently more prevalent in the affordable homes sector, can really make a difference to all home tenures. As we all work towards net zero carbon by 2050, I can only see more and more innovative products and solutions emerging.

And finally, what’s the next big scheme happening at Lovell in the next 12 months?

Our Land and Partnerships Team is currently working on lots of exciting opportunities across the whole of South Wales. We are looking to deliver new developments via land acquisitions and contract tenders working with a variety of partners including Housing Associations, Local Authorities and private landowners.

 

View more developments currently available from Lovell Homes

 

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