Proptech firm launches strategic joint venture housing scheme

Gary Woodhead at the Cononley development

Leeds-based proptech business, CurveBlock, which aims to pioneer financial inclusion within the real estate investment sector, has launched a joint venture housing development in North Yorkshire.

Working in collaboration with its Angel Investors, the business has secured full planning permission for development of the Calvert Homes owned site in Cononley, Craven district, to provide 25 new homes.

Houses will include two, three, four and five-bed properties, with a mix of terraced, semi-detached and detached homes.

Construction started in the first quarter of this year and over 20% of the homes have already been reserved off-plan.

CurveBlock was founded by Gary Woodhead, Joey Jones and Matthew Couch in 2018 and is working towards entry into the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Digital Security Sandbox, which will allow firms to test innovative propositions in the market with real consumers.

CurveBlock has been working with regulators to change the existing rules and open the doors to allow regular people to participate in real estate investment.

If the firm achieves regulatory approval, it intends to use its own secondary trading platform to let people participate in the real estate development space with as little as £10.

Commenting on the Cononley development, Woodhead explained: “This is a very significant milestone for us. We recently took a strategic position in this site, which is actually owned by some of CurveBlock’s investors.

“In terms of the circular economy, there are hundreds of tons of dry stone wall on the site – it looks to be York sandstone.

“Instead of just selling this off for a quick profit into the reclamation industry, this is going to be recycled and used on-site for such things as boundary walls, which will ultimately look more aesthetically pleasing for the development.”

Explaining the business’s ambition to open up real estate investment to the wider public, he said: “Most construction at the moment is funded by Tier One banks, but our vision is to let society be the bank.

“We’ve spent four years lobbying the FCA, the Treasury, the HMRC and Parliament to allow digital securities to go to market.

“They’ve now started a digital securities sandbox and we’re one of just 19 companies who’ve offered feedback and interacted with the Bank of England (BoE) and the FCA to help move the sandbox forward.

“We look forward to the final rules governing the sandbox coming out from the BoE and FCA in early April.”

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