Stewart Milne to build more than 140 new family homes at Shawfair near Edinburgh as sales jump

Housebuilder Stewart Milne has reported a 30 per cent hike in sales and reservations in east and central Scotland as it secures planning consent for scores of new homes.

Stewart Milne Homes has reported a 30 per cent hike in sales and reservations in east and central Scotland as it secures planning consent for scores of new homes. Picture: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media

The firm, which recently announced up to 80 job losses amid a restructuring, pointed to strong trading across Tayside, East Lothian, East Calder and Perthshire.

It has just secured planning consent for a total of 143 homes, across private and affordable tenures, within the new town of Shawfair.

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This will be its first development within the Edinburgh bypass area for several years and brings the total number of homes being delivered across central Scotland by the company in the coming year to more than 360.

Jonathan Fair, managing director of Stewart Milne Homes in Scotland, said: “We’ve seen high levels of sales demand in the last four months since full lockdown was eased in the summer and, despite current localised, tiered restrictions, we have a very strong forward sales position going into 2021 – indeed one of the strongest we’ve seen in recent years.

“It’s clear that the housing market being forced to close for three months contributed to pent-up demand and that has no doubt helped, in part, to drive this strong bounce back in sales.”

He also pointed to “fundamental changes” in the way people are now working which is creating long-term demand for more flexible family homes.

“With the shift to working remotely and in focused social bubbles, buyers are looking for greater flexibility in the family home, including space for a fully functioning home office, together with private gardens or dedicated outdoor space for entertaining and relaxing,” he said. “These changes in buying preferences play directly into the core themes of our latest home designs.”

With funding from the Building Scotland Fund, the firm is set to begin construction of its latest generation of three, four, five and six-bedroom detached homes at Shawfair in early 2021, along with 28 homes specifically allocated for affordable housing in partnership with Midlothian Council.

The first private properties will be released for sale in spring 2021.

Last month, Stewart Milne Group set out plans to overhaul its homes division in a move that will result in up to 80 job losses.

Stewart Milne Homes North and Stewart Milne Homes Central will become a single business – Stewart Milne Homes Scotland, the Aberdeen-headquartered group announced.

The firm said that Covid-imposed restrictions resulted in the loss of nearly three months of trading which has “inevitably impacted on financial performance”.

But since coming out of the initial lockdown, Stewart Milne Group has reported a strong sales performance across Scotland and north-west England, particularly in Tayside, the Central Belt and popular commuter areas in north-west England.

Chief executive Stuart MacGregor said: “Our recent annual business plan process assessed the likely market demand in each of the housing markets in which we operate.

“As a result of this, we are combining our Scottish operations to ensure we have the right resources in the right places.

“Regrettably, our restructure will impact on jobs and we are embarking on a consultation process which will put 60 to 80 posts at risk of redundancy in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Manchester from a total of almost 1,000.”

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