Momentum continues for Harworth Group after strong year

THE chief executive of property regeneration and investment specialist Harworth Group says the regional markets are “open for business and steady” as the company continues to capture demand from customers for well-located sites that are “primed and ready”.

Following the group’s trading statement in which it expects revaluation gains and profit on disposal to be “significantly ahead” of expectations for the year to December 2016, Owen Michaelson said Harworth’s strong position reinforces its confidence in the regional markets it operates in.

“We have good momentum, we are out there and very much active, targeting new projects in line with our key focus of increasing our strategic landbank while creating a vision for redundant sites to create places where people want to be.

“There is a significant amount of demand out there for well-located sites which are ready to go and we are very much focused on capturing that – our regional operations are really paying off for us, sales are above book value and good progress on planning and lettings is driving the improvement to the valuation of our portfolio.”

Key projects include Waverley Rotherham, Prince of Wales Pontefract, Torne Park and Wheatley Hall Road in Doncaster, Gateway 36 Barnsley, and Gateway 45 Leeds, the city’s largest live commercial development.

Site disposals were achieved above book value for both residential and commercial uses, including the sale of 43.7 acres at Logistics North to Lidl for £22.5m in December 2016 and the sale of land for 284 residential plots in aggregate to Taylor Wimpey, Harron Homes and Arch, the Northumberland economic development company.

Disposals of over £9m of agricultural land have also been made to improve the group’s focus on sites with greater value enhancement potential while progress in securing beneficial planning positions and improving lettings across the portfolio continued.

Options and planning promotional agreements have also been signed on a total of nearly 1,500 potential residential plots, increasing the group’s long term landbank to over 17,000 plots, of which over 9,500 plots already have planning permission.

“Harworth is seeing, and actively targeting, further opportunities to build its strategic landbank,” Mr Michaelson said.

“We act quickly to drive through planning in order bring forward the redevelopment of sites, be it for residential, commercial or mixed-uses purposes, and while some take a number of years to come to fruition the results of our hard work pays off in the long-term,” said Mr Michaelson.