The Deeley Group is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year. Like most companies with a long history, the nature of what we do and the spheres in which we operate have altered over the years as we have used our areas of expertise to adapt to market conditions.
Any anniversary is a chance to look back and look forward, and we believe we are in for a very exciting future. A significant part of that future will be us increasing the level of affordable housing we both develop and construct for clients.
We believe we are very well placed – for a number of reasons – to increase our market share in what we feel will continue to be a growth market.
We have a long and successful track record in working in partnership with many of the leading affordable homes providers and we have a very strong relationship with them. Homes England has increased its funding and there is greater Government emphasis on delivering housing and ensuring there is sufficient affordable housing.
Therefore, there is a need to deliver more stock and this has meant there is more demand from registered providers and a growth in the rental sector, and we are in a very good position to help deliver against that demand.
It is easy to set ambitions and establish targets, but they have to be deliverable and realistic and we feel we are perfectly placed to grow our affordable homes division.
Firstly, our reputation and relationships in that market are very strong. Our longevity, financial performance and ability to delivery for clients is very well established.
These projects are often long term so is it is vital for providers to be partnered with companies that have a proven track record. The growth in the sector is, inevitably, going to attract people who are, frankly, after a quick buck.
Secondly, providers want to partner with organisations with similar values and outlooks and we are very much a community-focussed company with strong links wherever we operate.
Thirdly, because we have such a strong construction arm it allows us to engineer developments from the outset, meaning there is more value to be gained by working with partners on sites that do not have an existing consent.
Everything starts with land. Everyone talks about construction, modular or traditional building, labour supply – but actually the key ingredient is land. As Mark Twain said “buy land, they’re not making it anymore”.
To that end, we have recruited David Currie, a highly experienced and respected operator in the sector, as a director of the Deeley Group.
David has an excellent track record and he actually used to be my client when I was at CBRE, so we go back a decade, and have a very similar approach.
We do have land but often it has been connected with other developments and will allow for up to around 20 homes on each site, and we need to be working on sites which can take between 30 and 60 homes to help partners make a real impact against their targets.
We are confident that our business plan will see us moving to a stage where affordable homes will account for around 30 per cent of Deeley Group business, while we continue to grow the other areas of the company.
That is clearly a significant growth and, while we will be spelling out our full plans next month, we are investing in the sector and in the people to deliver against this ambition, and that will see us growing staff numbers by between 10 and 15 per cent.
As I said, the anniversary is a celebration of the history and growth of the Deeley Group, but our focus is very much on the future – and it is a very exciting future.
Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director