Weston Homes has secured finance to build £1bn of new residential properties in the south east of England, signalling the long awaited return of available development finance.
The London and home counties developer has been provided with a £100m extension to its existing funding facility, up to 2018, by HSBC and Lloyds.
This agreement will help the construction firm to build £1bn of new residential units - equating to around 3,300 homes over the next five years with accompanying retail and leisure facilities, in a move to boost the UK’s much needed housing stock.
“The housing market is cyclical and currently London and the Home Counties are enjoying a good recovery and upward turn,” said Bob Weston, chairman of Weston Home.
“This is demonstrated by the strong pick up we have witnessed in both the volume and speed of sales that the business enjoys. This banking facility enables us to capitalise on this market.”
The company which was founded by Mr Weston in 1987 with a single dwelling in Essex now generates an annual turnover of £115m.
Small and mid-sized housebuilders have been starved of development finance throughout the recession, but this announcement will hopefully be the start of the banks unlocking funds to help construction firms build for Britain, he continued.
But planning permission red tape is still holding back the construction industry from building enough homes to house Britains burgeoning population, especially in London and the south east.
“The key [to building enough homes] is the planning consents. Despite good intentions red tape is worse than it has ever been,” he said. “Each planning constent requires one piece of paper. You can get the first consent through and then discover there are 80 planning conditions - such as building regulations and enviromental issues - which require one separate application each.”