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UK development: Redeveloped rugby club grounds and innovative apart-hotels

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic shaking the property world, developers and investors continue to brave the storm, with Godwin Development and Lord Stafford collaborating to regenerate a huge site in Castlefieds, West Midlands, and property developer Convivia unveiling plans for its first apart-hotel in Torquay.

Former rugby club ground set to become £80m mixed-use regeneration scheme

National multi-sector property developer Godwin Developments has signed a collaboration agreement with Lord Stafford to redevelop the former Stafford Rugby Club ground into a mixed-use development.


Located in the Castlefields area of the West Midlands, the 6.5-acre site is owned by Lord Stafford and is situated in close proximity to Stafford town centre and Stafford train station.

When fully redeveloped, the partners say it will play a vital part in the wider multi-million-pound regeneration plan for the area.

Godwin Developments and Lord Stafford appointed agents Savills to attract new businesses to the town. Plans currently include a food retailer, a hotel, a multi-storey car park and a Build to Rent residential development.

The proposals will also provide improved amenities to local residents and support the long-term economic prosperity of the town by attracting higher visitor numbers in a bid to provide up to 200 permanent jobs when fully operational.

Stuart Pratt, group development director and co-founder at Godwin Developments, comments: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with both Lord Stafford and Savills on this really exciting project.”

“Our significant expertise in selecting suitable land for redevelopment, obtaining planning permission and delivering the final scheme alongside our imaginative approach was key in securing this collaboration agreement.”

He adds: “Staffordshire is an important area of development focus for us as we see high growth potential in the region. We believe that the Stafford Borough Council Regeneration Plan alongside the construction of HS2 and the Stafford Gateway Masterplan project will be key drivers to the fast track growth of the town, which is already shaping into a highly attractive investment proposition for developers and commuters alike.” 

Commenting on the agreement, Lord Stafford adds: “Godwin Developments’ expertise, flexible working approach and respected track record made them an excellent appointment in managing this project. I have no doubt that this development will play a huge role in the wider re-development master plan for Stafford.”

Rachel Hull from Savills’ Birmingham-based development team says Godwin Developments is well-placed to ‘maximise the potential’ of the former rugby ground.

“It’s not only reassuring, but a positive for the local area that we have been able to see this deal - which presents a significant opportunity to build on the town’s commercial and residential offering - through to completion,” she adds.

A new property development and investment group is putting the wheels in motion to unveil its first high-spec apart-hotel in Torquay, Devon, in early 2021.

Inspired by the Latin ‘Convivo’, meaning ‘come together, Convivia is a London-based brand portfolio that aims to develop ‘playful’ accommodation solutions – encouraging users to share space.

Its first apart-hotel, named Halcyon, is located within walking distance of Torquay’s main marina and new £32 million high street development, and will comprise 42 generously-sized, high specification one and two-bed apartments, a communal gym, cinema room, lounge and private chefs’ kitchen.

In a bid to pioneer new communities, the site will offer consumers the same flexibility, value and living space they desire in short-term, self-contained accommodation.

The developer is also in the process of finalising the acquisition of a 100-unit scheme in the heart of Liverpool’s city centre. Work is anticipated to begin as early as summer 2020.

Roy Ledgister, founder and chief executive officer of Convivia, comments: “There is something fundamentally wrong with the way in which both public and private sector property developments are created and that is a sheer focus on maximising profit by squeezing as many units out of the given footprint, with little consideration for providing exciting communal space to be enjoyed.”

“Convivia Group aims to create a solid property investment portfolio underpinned by a spirit of conviviality and centred around experiential living. We are delighted to showcase our unique approach in the development of our first apart-hotel in Torquay, together with our exciting pipeline of developments due to be completed over the next 12-24 months.”

Ledgister founded the Convivia brand in 2017 to develop luxurious properties on an improved and low-risk investment model. Now backed by an experienced board, Convivia aims to deliver real estate across deprived, middle and high-income areas across both the public and private sector.

With an end-to-end solution of acquiring, developing, operating and managing the entire portfolio in-house, the Convivia Group has plans to reach a GDV of £130 million by the close of 2021, with plans to launch its first investment fund within the coming weeks.


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