The Bardon factory will be renamed Vistry Works East Midlands, with the capacity to produce 6,000 homes a year

Vistry has announced it will reopen the Countryside timber frame manufacturing plant it acquired as part of their merger last November, rebranding the factory as Vistry Works East Midlands. 

Countryside spent £20m setting up the Bardon, Leicestershire plant in autumn 2021.

By early 2022 the factory that was expected to produce up to 3,500 homes a year was identified as a major source of loss for the group.

In April 2022, Countryside said it expected the manufacturing business to make losses of around £10m, announced it was shutting the plant and then put the factory up for sale in August 2022.

Vistry bought Countryside for a cash and share offer of more than £1.2bn in November 2022. 


Vistry’s timber frame factory in Bardon, Leicestershire

The decision to reopen the facility signals Vistry’s commitment to modern methods of construction (MMC) in the wake of high profile difficulties for the industry. 

In late June, MMC manufacturer Ilke Homes sank into administration, just two months after Legal&General announced it was ceasing new production at its Sherburn-in-Elmet factory after racking up £174m in losses. 

The relaunched 356,000 sq ft facility Vistry Works East Midlands factory is expected to deliver over 2,000 homes in its first year and has the capacity to deliver in excess of 6,000 homes per year. 

Vistry already has two factories in Warrington and Leicester with a delivery capacity of 5,000 homes per year.

“The relaunched East Midlands timber frame facility creates the capability for us to capitalise, at scale, on the benefits of factory manufactured construction, delivering high quality sustainable homes faster and more economically than traditional methods of construction and in a more environmentally friendly way,” Scott Stothard, the manufacturing and special projects director at Vistry, said.

>> See also: L&G to cease production at flagship modular housing factory

>> See also: Growing pains or cause for concern? What recent financial failures mean for the modular market

The company says its new MMC facility will create jobs, help tackle the housing shortage, and facilitate the delivery of homes to meet the Future Homes Standard which comes into operation in 2025.

Earl Sibley, chief operating officer at Vistry, said:“The investment we’ve made illustrates our confidence in timber frame. The demand for new homes in this country shows no sign of abating now or in the long-term and by aligning our investment plans with the housing needs and consistent order book of our well-established partners, we can deliver more homes across a broad mix of housing tenures using the production capacity our combined MMC facilities provide.”

Vistry expects to make in excess of £450m profit this financial year.