Developing for the future 

November 1, 2017

Tom Willows, partner at Womble Bond Dickinson, reflects on why the residential property industry in the North East has plenty to shout about

The expertise of the specialist residential development team at Womble Bond Dickinson has never been in such demand as we witness a house-building boom driven by the housing shortage and a real willingness at Government level to get Britain building.

We have a long and proud history in residential development and we are committed to remaining at the forefront of changes that enable us to provide an even better service to our clients. It was extremely rewarding to have been recognised as one of Europe’s most innovative law firms in the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report, ranking 14th in the FT 50: Most Innovative Law Firms and Legal Service Providers 2017. This prompted me to think differently about the sector I work in on a daily basis and ask myself, ‘what am I seeing which helps the region develop today and in the future’.

It didn’t take long to conclude that residential development in the region is at the forefront of pioneering growth and there is plenty for us to shout about.

· You don’t have to look much further than Newcastle Great Park (NGP), one of the largest developments of its type in the entire country, to see mixed use development coming about by collaboration between developers, in this case Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon. NGP is a showcase of how new houses can unlock the delivery of infrastructure and regeneration. The creation of, what is effectively, a new town came about on the back of demand for housing and any part of the country would rightly be proud of NGP.

· Many commentators believe the solution to the housing crisis lies, at least in part, with modular housing and other forms of off-site construction to speed up the delivery of new units. We have a fantastic example of this at Places for People’s development in North Shields, Smith’s Dock. This demonstrates the cutting-edge technique perfectly and it’s great to see this region leading the way.

· Our house-builder clients are telling us that a significant limiting factor is a skills shortage within their businesses and the supply chain. However, the majority of developers active in this region are streets ahead of other sectors when it comes to apprenticeships. This in itself is a good news story. Other success stories include the Story Homes supply chain engagement programme, which aims to improve the level of support offered to subcontractors. This will undoubtedly benefit the region’s suppliers.

· Estates built sympathetically to a semi-rural or rural environment, deliver growth by attracting people to the region who are keen for the benefits a new build can bring. The focus on our region’s rural areas also bring employment and occupants to these communities which is vital to their growth. We have some wonderful examples in the region including: Bellway’s development at St Mary’s in Stannington, Duchy Homes’ development at Humshaugh and multiple new developments at Wynyard.

The sector is doing a lot in the region to deliver change and growth. Now is the time to make noise about the great innovation we’re part of and which contribute substantially to the growth and prosperity of the North East.

Womble Bond Dickinson
For more information contact Tom on 0191 279 9196 or

Scroll to next article
Go to

The Legal 500 success for Hay & Kilner