Glasgow builder Mactaggart & Mickel expands into England

Mactaggart & Mickel Group, the fourth-generation family housebuilder, today outlined its 'milestone' expansion into the English housing market.

Mactaggart & Mickel has lodged planning permission for its first housing project in England. Picture: Contributed
Mactaggart & Mickel has lodged planning permission for its first housing project in England. Picture: Contributed

The group’s homes division has lodged detailed planning permission for its first housing development south of the Border, at Milton-under-Wychwood in Oxfordshire.

A planning application is expected to be lodged for a second English site, in East Challow, over the coming weeks.

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Andrew Mickel says expansion south of the Border was 'the next natural step'. Picture: Contributed

Plans to push its homes division into England were flagged last year and the Glasgow-based company will be following in the footsteps of fellow Scottish housebuilders such as Cala, Miller Homes and Stewart Milne in targeting the English market.

The development at Milton-under-Wychwood has outline planning consent for 62 homes. The firm already has a strong land bank in England and has been involved in strategic land development south of the Border since 2008, securing more than 1,200 acres across the north-west and south-west of the country, with a further 250 acres under offer.

The expansion into new markets comes as fourth-generation family members and cousins Andrew and Ross Mickel take over the reins in running the business from recently retired Bruce Mickel, who had been at the helm for more than 40 years.

Andrew Mickel says expansion south of the Border was 'the next natural step'. Picture: Contributed

Andrew Mickel said: “It’s an exciting time for Mactaggart & Mickel Homes England as we begin our long-term ambition to expand and grow the company in front of a UK-wide audience.

“Our English strategic land business has been very successful in identifying and promoting viable sites, so building our own housing developments south of the Border is the next natural step.”

Mactaggart & Mickel Group employs some 280 staff directly and expects that number to rise over the coming year as it ramps up its English operation.

Last November, the firm posted its fourth consecutive year of rising earnings. Pre-tax profits in the year ending 30 April, 2016, grew 7.1 per cent to £10.4 million as overall turnover dipped 4.2 per cent to £65.1m.

Sales rose in the group’s flagship homes division to £55m from £48.5m, but fell in its contracts operations to £2.6m from £10.4m on “a change in focus in the year to concentrate on maximising value from group-owned sites and the completion of the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village retrofit”.

Britain faces an acute housing shortage, with the UK government looking into ways of stimulating construction. Based on current demand, the UK needs some 240,000 homes each year, but only about 140,000 are constructed annually.

Many potential first-time buyers have found themselves priced out of the market with the need for larger deposits and stricter mortgage lending criteria also presenting an obstacle to home ownership.