WhatHouse? Awards 2015 winners – Millwood Designer Homes, Best Small Housebuilder 

Posted 1 December 2015 by Keith Osborne

We take a close look at another first-class housebuilder to pick up a prestigious WhatHouse? Award at this year's ceremony...

Tonbridge-based Millwood Designer Homes has crowned a busy year by picking up a Bronze for Best Small Housebuilder at the WhatHouse? Awards 2015, against stiff opposition from companies around the UK building under 100 homes a year.

The company specialises in smart executive homes in prime locations in Kent, East Sussex and Surrey. Among its current developments are a development of just three large five-bedroom homes at St Mary’s Platt on the outskirts of Sevenoaks and a pair of farmhouse-style detached homes in Betchworth, Surrey. Showing the company’s versatility, work will soon start on 39 new homes on a private road in Isfield, East Sussex.

WHA 2015 judges report coverPhilip Brown, sales director of Millwood, says: “We are delighted to receive this excellent recognition for our dedicated and passionate family-run business. Our managing director and deputy managing director, are proud to live in their own Millwood Designer homes – convincing testimony of our total commitment to the Millwood product.

“We currently have six sites underway across the South East and we are dedicated to combining all that is best in local architecture with the very latest in contemporary living.”

The WhatHouse? Awards judges said of the company’s achievement:

“When it comes to marketing, a picture can be misleading or it can paint a thousand words. A picture of Millwood Designer Homes founder and managing director John Elliott presenting a Tonbridge schoolboy with an award sits squarely in the thousand words camp.

The company has produced an Encouragement Pack to celebrate and nurture achievement in schools close to where Millwood is building. It is not just a local PR exercise; it promotes  housebuilding as a career at a time when skills shortages and the lack of young people entering the industry is seriously undermining new homes delivery. Millwood, which runs a staff profit-share scheme from site labourer to MD, carved its original niche with period-style, locally sourced homes – be they Georgian, Tudor or Yeoman farmhouses – always sympathetic to the local vernacular, but making their own striking design statements at the same time and with all the latest technology.

Millwood is now about more than large detached houses and has mixed up its portfolio to include larger developments of smaller-sized properties in response to the market, such as its Orchard Gate scheme in Ditton, Kent. Here Millwood has created what it calls “a small hamlet that has evolved over time”. This is a look more developers should strive to achieve – not pastiche, but realising that complementary architecture is often a local winner.

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