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Stonewood set to expand after being chosen as partner in £300 million new homes fund

Housebuilder Stonewood Partnerships is set to expand further across the South West after being chosen as one of just five partners in a £300 million government-backed homes building fund.

The Tormarton and Castle Combe-based developer is the South West’s first partner for the Housing Growth Partnership’s new Regional Growth Initiative, which is underwritten by Lloyds Bank and the government’s own housing financier, Homes England.

Access to the fund will boost the company’s plans to expand further down the M5 corridor, with targets to use the new money to acquire up to two new sites before the end of the year.

Operations Director Gavin Calthrop said the success of Somerbrook, its 38-home development in Great Somerford, Wiltshire, , which was a joint venture with Housing Growth Partnership, had convinced it to invite Stonewood to apply to become a partner.

“They are attracted to the fact we are a robust business with a really solid growth plan and they have confidence based on their experience with Somerbrook that we can deliver more growth by using this money,” he said.

As long as any new project meets a pre-agreed set of criteria, including build quality, type of land, sustainability and number of units, the Regional Growth Initiative will provide equity funding.

“It’s a huge win for us because it allows us to use our equity really efficiently and spread it further so that we can be active on more sites,” said Mr Calthrop. “It also means we can compete for bigger and better sites.”

Stonewood’s five-year plan sets a target of building and selling 300 homes a year by 2026. “This partnership gives us real confidence in being able to achieve that,” said Mr Calthrop.

“It also gives us confidence in our growth plan, which involves us moving further down the M5 corridor into the South West, which is a natural growth area for us.”

Sister company Stonewood Builders, which specialises in listed building refurbishments and bespoke projects for private clients, is already winning contracts in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Mr Calthrop said Stonewood Partnerships wants to follow in its footsteps.

“We are looking by the end of the calendar year to get one or possibly two sites with this fund,” he said.

The developer, part of the Stonewood Group that turned over almost £60 million in the year to September and employs more than 250 people, already has sites under way in Holt and Calne in Wiltshire, as well as a neighbourhood of 88 sustainable homes at Orchard Field in Siddington, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

Mr Calthrop said: “For the Housing Growth Partnership, who are backed by Lloyds, to select us a preferred partner is a massive vote of confidence in us as a business and what we are building.

“From a business growth point of view, it gives us a huge degree of certainty in our ongoing land buying strategy because we have this fund behind us.”

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