Castle Green appoints partnerships director

Monday, 30th January 2023

Diversifying its business model and helping to deliver affordable housing, has led Castle Green Homes to create a new role of partnerships director.

A number of schemes have been or are being delivered in partnership with Welsh housing association Adra. In the North West of England, the company has contracted to deliver 85 homes for Torus at Daresbury and is progressing deals with affordable housing providers to deliver new homes in Congleton and several other locations.

To support the growth of this element of the business, Eoin O’Donnell has been appointed as partnerships director.

Chief executive Gwyn Jones said: “As a business we made the decision several years ago to broaden our operations to include Partnerships, working alongside housing associations and registered social landlords to provide mixed tenure developments. We’ve grown this sector and are targeting 30% of our output in this area. Going forward, this strategic corporate planning will mean we’re able to move focus from traditional sales to Partnerships fluidly to protect the long-term future of the business. Eoin’s wealth of industry experience makes him the ideal candidate to lead this element of the business.”

A quantity surveyor by background, Eoin has worked in the housebuilding industry for more than 40 years. His varied career saw him reach the position of managing director and has included roles with Redrow, Miller, Morris, McInerney, Prospect, Galliford Try and on government projects in Gibraltar.

He joined what is now known as Castle Green Homes when it was Macbryde Homes in 2019 as pre-construction director, working with the land team in appraising sites and dealing with all contractual matters relating to affordable schemes.

“Housebuilding is a cyclical business and we put contingencies in place to make sure that we were prepared for the next cycle. We always planned to do a proportion of partnership homes and now we are just increasing the proportion,” Eoin explained.

“There’s a synergy between the open market and partnerships business. The partnerships model is helping the rest of the business, ensuring that we have turnover and are delivering on targets for the number of homes we build.  In terms of forecasting, having two streams to the business gives certainty and comfort so that we can maintain growth. Long term, we will continue to develop partnership sites because it’s good business.”

Plas Deva in Meliden was the company’s first development, delivered through the ‘Partnerships’ brand and provided 33 houses and eight apartments for North Wales housing association Adra.

Millington Fields in Drury, Flintshire delivered a further 24 affordable homes for Adra.

Work is well underway at Plas Newydd in Prestatyn, a scheme of 102 homes. It offers a mix of two, three and four-bedroom properties including nine bungalows. The housing mix will include 46 properties for social rent and 56 for intermediate rent.

Daniel Parry, development director for Adra, said: “The cost-of-living crisis means that demand for affordable housing is rising.  Our partnership with Castle Green is enabling us to address that need by increasing the number of homes we have available for social or intermediate rent. We’ve been impressed by the quality and finish of the homes delivered at Millington Fields and Plas Deva. Energy efficiency is paramount for those living in affordable housing and at Plas Newydd the homes will achieve efficiencies above the current Building Regulations, which should mean lower running costs for tenants.”

Eoin added: “On a personal level I’m proud to be involved in the delivery of affordable housing. Anyone with children or grandchildren wonders in these times of high property prices, how will they ever get a home of their own? The delivery of social housing of various tenures enables people in urgent need to live in high quality, modern housing that is fuel efficient and cheap to run. It also enables people who contribute massively to society, such as key workers to remain in areas where they have little or no prospect of being able to buy an open market home.

We are trying to develop relationships with more housing associations. Managing relationships is vital to the partnerships model. We aim to work in concert with our Housing Association clients and to become their partner of choice.”

In Denbigh, a 110 home scheme that was due to have been open market housing is now set to become a Partnerships site, to be developed for Adra, with 80 affordable homes and 30 market rent homes.

“Rather than tendering to build affordable homes for housing associations, our preferred route is to take land opportunities we have identified, secured and are progressing through the planning process to them. Our aim is to agree a package deal to sell the land to the housing association and build the homes under contract for them, subject to achieving a satisfactory planning consent,” Eoin explained.

“This is where we bring our diverse skillset to the table to best affect. Our house type designs are excellent. We don’t differentiate in terms of design or architectural interest between open market and affordable houses. I believe that our affordable homes are as good as anything in the industry. Our excellent layout design, planning and technical skills ensure that we maximise the potential of every piece of land, thus providing great homes for our housing association partners and great business for us. We at Castle Green are proud of the affordable developments we have completed and we carry the passion, drive and skills that produced them forward to the next opportunities”.

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