[vc_row][vc_column][templatera id="562"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width="stretch_row" content_placement="middle" css=".vc_custom_1524424290580{margin-top: -50px !important;padding-top: -15px !important;background-color: #013b7a !important;}"][vc_column][mpc_button preset="preset_1" url="url:https%3A%2F%2Fstorey-homes.co.uk%2Fnews%2F|||" font_preset="preset_19" font_color="#ffffff" font_transform="none" font_align="left" title="Storey Homes' Bedford Development And Future Plans" icon="typcn typcn-arrow-back" icon_color="#ffffff" icon_size="30" icon_effect="stay-left" icon_gap="10" padding_divider="true" margin_divider="true" margin_css="margin-top:-15px;"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][mpc_textblock preset="preset_0" content_width="100" font_preset="preset_15"]PHPD recently caught up with Storey Homes managing director Katy Jordan at the company's De Montfort Place site in Bedford to discover more about its current development, and the housebuilder's plans for the future.

Storey Homes is a small-sized housebuilder that is thinking big. From its base in Milton Keynes, it has the aspiration to become a leading developer across Herts, Beds & Bucks. Having recently completed a site in Ampthill the company is currently focused on a 152 unit development in the centre of Bedford.[/mpc_textblock][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image source="featured_image" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mpc_textblock preset="preset_0" content_width="100" font_preset="preset_15"]The site, De Montfort Place, was formerly part of the campus of De Montfort University and included a number of academic buildings, now demolished. Once fully developed it will feature 152 new homes via a mix of terraced and semi-detached houses, and apartments. Amongst the private sale homes, the development includes 25 houses for affordable rent. The four-phase development is projected to take another three years to complete, with the construction of the first phase well underway. Already proving popular the first release of properties is almost fully sold.

Katy Jordan, Managing Director of Storey Homes told us, "We have been so happy with the success of the first release of De Montfort Place, and this next phase is expected to sell quickly. There is high demand for the apartments in this area, particularly among young professionals looking to get more for their money than in the capital. The four-bedroom houses are expected to be particularly popular as they all have south facing gardens."

Conservation Area

The site in central Bedford is close to both the train station and the city centre and is situated in a conservation area. Consequently, the housebuilder has included a number of features to ensure the development fits in with the local vernacular. All the villas are bay-fronted and a large amount of stone has been included in the exterior detailing. The roofs will feature natural slate and all windows are timber.

Katy Jordan noted, "What we have here is a very high specification of external fabric. Which ordinarily you wouldn't be putting forward to the planners, but because of the location of the site we were very guided by that, and on this particular development it is very much within the local vernacular."

External designers were used to create the house types, which the company does on all its sites to ensure homes meet the demands of the local market. As such, there is not a 'typical' look to a Storey Homes development. Katy continued, "I don't think you would be able to go to two of our sites, without them being branded, and say this is a Storey Homes site, other than they look great. Kerb appeal is important to us."

Building Relationships

Although it did consider timber-frame for a phase of the De Montfort Place development, Storey Homes uses a traditional method of construction, working closely with sub-contractors to achieve the build quality it requires. With sub-contractors playing a key role in construction the company has put significant effort into building relationships with them. Managing Director Katy Jordan noted, "We spend a lot of time with our sub-contractors to explain that we operate as a big firm, although we are small at the moment." She continued, "I am a firm believer that every sub-contractor wants to work for a good client." At the De Montfort Place site Storey Homes provides a good quality of on-site facilities.

However, finding an retaining sub-contractors remains a challenge because, as Katy told us, "There is plenty of work out there." But she concludes, "I think they can see the level of professionalism that we are bringing to the table."

Quality Specification

Internally the housebuilder is delivering a high level of specification and focuses on providing branded solutions in key areas. For example, bathrooms feature Porcelanosa tiles and Roca sanitary ware, while the kitchens are from German manufacturer Hacker. Commercial manager Steve Glendinning explained, "One thing that we set ourselves apart on is having a really good specification. Being a small developer that is key for us, to say look at our product compared with the rest." He continued, "All of the specifications whether it be ceramic tiles, ironmongery, internal doors, kitchens, sanitary ware or appliances we are in control of that."

However, the level of specification is not a one-size-fits-all approach across the housebuilder's development portfolio. As with the external design, the internal specification will depend on what the market dictates in the particular location. Katy Jordan continued, "That will differ from site-to-site, to fit the requirement of the market. That is the element of freedom you have as a private developer [and] if there is a particular specification item that isn't greeted particularly warmly by the market, we are able to change that."

Future Developments

Although Storey Homes will be on site at De Montfort Place for the next few years it has a number of planning applications underway on land which it owns and has acquired more land around Milton Keynes for potential development. Katy Jordan said, "We want a blended portfolio so we have a reasonable amount of strategic land, which by its very nature is agricultural at this moment in time.

"This is our most centred location to a town centre, but what we really like is the market towns, that is where our favourite spots are. We look for places where we would want to live ourselves and build products in which, we would want to live."

Whether Storey Homes will meet its aspiration to be the best developer in Herts, Beds & Bucks - only time will tell. But the company's commitment to high standards and focus on quality will, no doubt, serve it well on its journey.

Professional Housebuilder & Property Developer Magazine. April 2017 Page 12[/mpc_textblock][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][templatera id="595"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][templatera id="693"][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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