North East Connected

Development deals drive growth for North East land specialist

Leading land development specialist Hamilton Willis is looking to expand its services after a strong third year performance.

The company – led and co-founded by Aidan Hamilton and Calum Willis – works closely with landowners and regional and national housebuilders to provide a complete one-stop-shop, bespoke land development service.

During the last 12 months, Hamilton Willis successfully completed deals on 13 sites across the North East, with planning permission to deliver more than 1,750 residential units. Six of these sites were unconditional transactions.

The Newcastle-based company, which sources, buys and sells land while also providing support with land promotion and planning and design services is now recruiting for an experienced planner to strengthen services already offered.

Hamilton Willis has a range of exciting development opportunities on the go and a potential pipeline of 5,000 units in 2022. While most of the work is centred around the North-East the company has projects in Edinburgh, Manchester, Bridgend, and Surrey.

Among the successful deals completed during 2021 was the negotiated disposal of 543 units in Stockton-on-Tees, to a national housebuilder; the assembly of a multi-owner site in Darlington with 180 units, and representing a landowner in a major unconditional land purchase in Sunderland – the disposal of 220 units to Barratt David Wilson Homes in Ryhope.

With backgrounds in senior management in regional housebuilders, both Aidan Hamilton and Calum Willis are experienced in leading financial and contractual negotiations and navigating large multi-discipline teams of professionals through the development process.

Calum explained: “It’s been an exciting but challenging three years. We’ve enjoyed a strong 2021, but the hard yards were put in the two years before. Even during the pandemic, we continued to invest in opportunities and develop relationships”.

He said, “the housebuilding environment has enjoyed a buoyant period but there are challenges and risks ahead”. He remains positive about the future though: ”We will build on our successes to date, bringing more senior experience into our team to improve client services”

Aidan Hamilton, who comes from a rural community, explained that he understood the pressures on some landowners and that company’s success will be based on their ability to deliver deals that bring value to the landowner and the housebuilder.

“We really understand the pressure some landowners are under to produce meaningful income from their land, especially farmers. The farming landscape in the UK has changed dramatically in recent years and left many facing reduced financial support and increasing costs. This leaves many generational farmers facing a stark reality when subsidy represents a high proportion of profit.

“We can review their land holdings to see if there is an opportunity for small, or large-scale development. Even the smallest of development schemes can bring a very good income and ease financial pressures while still keeping their farming interest alive. In some cases, the potential may be greater, and the financial rewards are life-changing for them and their families.”

Aidan added: “Above all though, it’s critical that landowners are effectively communicated with, understand what is happening, and that they trust the process we are helping with. “Our business is based on trust and good relationships and doing the right thing for our clients. Everyone needs to be getting value from the deal or it falls down, landowners and developers alike. We’ll just keep doing what we do well.”

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