Vistry-owned partnerships housebuilder to build 1,200 homes with Liverpool landlord Torus

Vistry subsidiary Countryside Partnerships has signed a deal with Liverpool-based housing association Torus to build out a £400m scheme in Warrington delivering just under 1,200 homes.

Peel Hall Countryside Partnerships Torus

The Peel Hall site was approved on appeal to the secretary of state in 2021

The Partnerships housebuilder, which merged into Vistry’s existing partnerships business in November, will build 595 affordable homes on the 170-acre Peel Hall site, and the same number of houses for private sale. It’s partner in the scheme, Torus, owns around 40,000 homes in the North west and is committed to building 5,600 homes over the next five years.

The affordable homes in the development will be split between shared ownership and affordable rent.

Stephen Teagle, chief executive of Countryside Partnerships, told Housing Today that delivery of the scheme would take place over the next six years, with Vistry using all three of its housebuilding brands on the site in order to diversify its product range and thereby accelerate market take-up.

He said: “It’s a great example of the housing solutions that we can bring forward because we’re planning to use three brands on that site, Linden, Bovis and Countryside. That allows us to deliver 50% affordable, and to deliver a wide range of housing choice.

“So our absorption rate is benefits from the fact that we will be that we are this larger group now.”

Teagle added that the site, which only achieved planning approval after an appeal to the secretary of state decided in November 2021, will also make use of Countryside Partnerships’ modular construction factory in Warrington.

>> See also Vistry sets out ambitious post merger gowth plan

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Countryside Partnerships said the development will include significant public realm open space and new sports pitches.

stephen teagle 1

Stephen Teagle said build out of the scheme would make use of modular construction

Teagle said that the signing of the scheme was an example of Countryside Partnerships’ housing customers continuing to trade and invest despite the uncertain economic outlook. In Vistry’s full year trading update earlier this week, the firm had said that “hesitancy” amongst housing providers seen during the fourth quarter of last year while the government consulted upon bringing in a rent cap was now “dissipating”.

Teagle said: “Yes, it was a very difficult three months but our long term partners continue to invest cautiously. […] And whilst there’s remaining uncertainty in how the UK residential market will play out in 23. There is nevertheless no uncertainty about the need to deliver more housing.”

Vistry said on Wednesday the value of its forward order book had soared by 70% to £4.6bn, largely as a result of the Countryside deal, despite the slowdown in the market.

Vistry chief executive Greg Fitzgerald also told analysts he was “encouraged” by the demand seen in the first few weeks of 2023 in its private housebuilding business, with a “strong pick up in prospects” so far, and trading in line with 2019 levels.