We are delighted to have exchanged on Hobbs Cross Farm, Theydon Garnon, in Epping Forest.
The 2.2-hectare site comprises commercial land with existing buildings, and the proposal intends to work with the tenants to update the yards and services available to them.
The site is easily accessible with both the M25 and M11 close by.

A timelapse over the last year of the build at Beresford Avenue, overlooking the Grand Union Canal in Alperton. A mixed use scheme which will provide commercial space, along with 100 new homes, in partnership with The Guinness Partnership.

Completion is anticipated for summer 2024. All available commercial units are situated at ground floor level and either front onto Beresford Avenue itself or the Grand Union Canal.

Stonebridge Park Station (Overground) is roughly fifteen minutes’ walk to the East, Alperton Station (Piccadilly Line) is around 12 minutes’ walk to the west and the North Circular (A406) is 5 minutes to the south.

Watch the timelapse here

We are delighted to report that Reigate and Banstead Borough Council have unanimously granted planning consent for our proposed mixed-use redevelopment at Station Road, Horley.
The proposed redevelopment consists of 10 new homes and 36,000sqft of employment generating uses, including a mix of light industrial space, offices, and retail.
The scheme will make more efficient use of the currently vacant Mitchells of Horley site. The redevelopment also seeks to protect and enhance the adjacent former brewery building and bring it back to life.

Energy use and building performance have been a key factor within the proposal, which is based on a ‘fabric first’ approach. Passive design measures involve maximising the insulation and air tightness that make up the building fabric. Further considerations to reduce the total carbon emission of the building include, space and water heating, provided by highly efficient air source heat pumps.

Woolbro Homes is very pleased to announce that we have completed our purchase of Venn House in Great Dunmow. The site will now be built out for 12 much-needed new private homes comprising three, four and five bed houses with associated parking and amenity space.

Planning was granted at appeal earlier this year, when the Planning Inspectorate overturned Uttlesford District Council’s decision to reject Venn House.

The site is located within the historic market town of Great Dunmow within close walking distance to high street shops, services and facilities.

With interest rates at their highest point in 15 years, the pressure is on for homeowners, potential buyers and developers alike.

Ben Woolman, Director at Woolbro Group, spoke with several publications last week, including Property NotifyShowhouse and Mortgage Solutions, regarding the effects of interest rate rises on the UK housing market.

He said: “The naive idea that homeowners would simply ‘adjust’ to higher interest rates is now dead in the water.

Mortgagers are instead having to come to terms with the life-changing consequences of this latest rate rise which, for many, will be devastating.
But make no mistake, today’s turmoil has been in the making for many years.
In lieu of building the new homes Britain so desperately needs, the government has instead pandered to ‘Nimbys’ and those who are all but completely opposed to any form of new development.

It is only now, in the run-up to a general election, that it has dawned on the Tories that the housing crisis they themselves have presided over could be their undoing.

If there was ever a time for the Prime Minister to publicly commit to reform of Britain’s outdated and ineffective planning system, it is now.

While this wouldn’t help struggling mortgagers in the short term, it would prevent local politicians from blocking new housing developments where they are needed most.

Planning reform is the only long-term solution to Britain’s housing crisis.
By bringing the supply of new homes in line with demand, we can eventually make homeownership a reality for those who today are completely priced out of the market.”

Read the full article here

Ben Woolman, Director of Woolbro Group, spoke with Express Newspapers regarding Rightmove’s house price index for June, which revealed the average cost of a home coming to market hit its sixth consecutive record of £369,968. 
Ben said: “Given the widely-anticipated slowdown in the delivery of new homes over the coming years – mainly as a result of rising building costs and a shortage of construction workers – demand will continue to outstrip supply, meaning the chances of a significant market correction are slim to none”.

Read the full article here

Our Beresford Avenue, Alperton site, is gathering attention from the industry press, with announcements by Property Week, Building Products and UK Property Forums.

Playing a key role in the wider regeneration of the iconic Wembley area of London, our proposal includes both the demolition and redevelopment of an existing warehouse to transform the site into 100 one, two and three-bedroom residential units set across seven floors, 50% of which will be affordable. This major development will also include 12,000 sq ft of commercial units offering a mixture of flexible modern workspaces.

The scheme is in the heart of the Alperton Growth Area, reflects the London Borough of Brent’s goal of mixed-use regeneration along the Grand Union Canal, and is part of meeting the borough’s ambitious housing targets by 2026.

Planning permission granted for Beresford Road development in Alperton
Beresford Avenue, Alperton

Designed by HWO Architects in partnership with Evolution Estate Developments, plans include thoughtfully designed landscaped gardens with additional cycle parking facilities to accommodate the growing demand for sustainable commuting options. In accordance with the Alperton Masterplan, plans also include improved pedestrian routes to the Grand Union Canal with continuous access to the towpath.

As we seek to provide innovative solutions that benefit the neighbourhood, this scheme will embrace the concept of ‘maker spaces’, allowing the local community to thrive and work in the area.

With planning permission now granted, work on-site is due to start in the summer of 2021 with completion expected in 2023.

David Woolman, Director of Woolbro Group, shares his thoughts with the Evening Standard.

The Chancellor unveiled a new mortgage guarantee scheme to help homeowners get onto the property ladder. Although it will not be replacing the current initiatives in place, such as the Help-to-Buy scheme, it will be a welcome addition of support for the residential sector. Even more so in London, where average house prices are higher and much larger deposits are needed for first-time buyers. The new initiative will increase affordability across the whole market for many potential homebuyers.

mortgage guarantee scheme budget 2021

Before the pandemic, first-time buyers had huge sway on the property market and accounted for more than half of the homes purchased with a mortgage. The pandemic has meant there have been fewer lower deposit options available for first-time buyers, with banks withdrawing their 5% deposit mortgage offers in early 2020.

With this new scheme, there will be additional support for all buyers and more favourable mortgage offers. In addition, it should in theory speed up and simplify the mortgage application process. Traditionally, with HTB, homebuyers need to seek approval from both mortgage lenders and the government to qualify. However, with the mortgage guarantee scheme, the government will provide lenders with incentives to bring back 95% mortgages, taking on more of the risk, and ultimately, simplifying the application process.

An opportunity for first time buyers to invest in previously unaffordable areas.

We may be biased, however, there are some very good reasons for buying a new build, unless of course you adore period properties and all their charms, in which case a new build is probably not for you. In the bid to boost the number of new builds available, new homes are being built all the time, meaning there is a much wider pool of properties to choose from. A property’s location is a key consideration, and many new build developments give buyers an opportunity to invest in areas which would previously have been unaffordable.

New builds are energy efficient. Reducing your carbon footprint, and low energy bills is surely a good thing. At Woolbro Homes, all our homes include Smart Meters, triple glazing, good insulation and solar panelling.

A new build in Putney

There is a certain peace of mind which comes from knowing that all appliances and fixtures are new, reducing money spent on repairs in the first few years. This plug and play approach to moving in, allows you to settle into your new home far quicker, which works well for those who don’t want to take on a renovation project. Often, fixtures and fittings can be customised, so apartments can still be made to feel personal, rather than the characterless features which can too often be associated with new builds.

Most new builds come with government incentives, such as HTB, Shared Ownership and the new Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, giving first time buyers a real chance to jump quickly onto the property ladder, instead of having to save for years and years.

So, is buying a new build a good idea? If the above reasons feel right for your situation, then a new build is probably a good way to go.

Mortgage wait times have soared.

Before the pandemic it took two weeks to get a mortgage offer. It is now taking up to six weeks, much to the frustration of potential homebuyers and brokers. We can of course blame Covid, the go-to excuse for 2020, and partly it has been brought about by increased home working and the desire for more space, but the main reason is simply that buyers are keen to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, hence demand has surged.

Can the lenders do anything more to speed it up?

Well, yes. There are few things which could be reviewed in order to better handle the situation:

• Make it less of a national box ticking exercise and take more of a personal approach when looking at the buyer’s financial situation.

• Assign more case managers to help guide buyers through the application process.

• Have an underwriter check the initial application to make sure the required documents are all there and in order, reducing the risk of delays at a later stage.

• If the lender is unable to process the application within a reasonable timeframe, they should perhaps restrict lending or be extremely clear with the borrower in the first instance. The borrower can then make a decision call as to whether to proceed or look for another lender and not risk losing their home.

In short, the lenders need to up their game. From the borrower’s side, get your credit report in shape and prepare well before applying and hopefully you will sail through with no errors.