Meeting and beating the pandemic challenge

November 8, 2020

‘Bouncing back’ and ‘building back better’ are slogans that have been bandied about a lot in recent months. They’re easy to say but more difficult to achieve. Thankfully, housebuilding, construction and regeneration specialists – Vistry Partnerships North East – is delivering both from its headquarters on Newcastle Great Park, says managing director Sean Egan.


Despite all of the restrictions and constrictions of COVID-19, Vistry Partnerships North East has managed to drive productivity back to pre-pandemic levels while all safe working practices are being observed across 14 live sites.

Backed by the financial strength of Vistry Group – created by the £1.1 billion acquisition of Galliford Try Partnerships and Linden Homes by Bovis at the start of 2020 – an appetite to acquire development land for private sale housebuilding, multi-storey extra care and affordable homes is driving the strong performance of the business.

Land is the key to our growth. We have seen in- creased activity in the last 12 months, acquiring good quality sites for both private housing development and those we create for our housing provider partners. We have a strong and extremely successful team focussed on this, led by development director Andrew Rennie. The appetite for further growth means that we have recently enhanced the team further, with the arrival of property expert Jonathan Rudge, from Bradley Hall, as head of land, and Melissa Flynn, from Ward Hadaway, as development manager.

Our expertise and relationships are enabling us to be the regional leader in developing sites with homes of all tenures – for private sale, shared ownership, private rent and affordable rent. “Currently we are working with Beyond Housing and Sigma Capital at Kirkleath- am Green, near Redcar and with Sigma and Thirteen at Bracken Grange in Middlesbrough – projects with a combined gross development value of £120 million, which will deliver 725 homes.

This model of operating, as a private housebuilder and also a contractor for our partners, reduces our risk exposure as different parts of the business operate in a counter cyclical way. By ensuring we have a balance of market sale and partnership work, the order book is more resilient to changing market conditions – providing something of a cushion against these turbulent times.

As a result, we have achieved significant growth in recent years and anticipate turning over more than £100 million next year, showing a significant increase in profit. We will also complete 700 new homes – 60 per cent more than three or four years ago – all against the backdrop of COVID-19 and some of the most challeng- ing times in recent memory.

Having achieved five-star housebuilder status, demonstrating fantastic levels of customer satisfac- tion, the Linden Homes brand is well established in the North East and so now, we are also planning to bring the Bovis brand to the region in due course.

Credit must go to the entire team. We have seen strong performance across our build, commercial, sales and finance functions, enabling us to deliver on our growth strategy and see year-on-year improved perfor- mance and output. To have strengthened our business and continued to deliver new homes throughout this pandemic has required a huge amount of ingenuity, creativity and commitment, all of which stand us in good stead for the future.