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Development roundup – from sky high flats to steel panel factories

A development of 21 flats in Hanley was given the green light in a bid to regenerate the area.

ALB Group put forward the ‘ambitious’ plans, which will see the vacant office space in Fountain Square, Hanley, transformed into much-needed housing. 

Arran Bailey, managing director at ALB Group, comments: “The town has a desperate need for more housing, and this project will be vital to the wider economy in that area. By allowing more people to live in Hanley, it will mean that shops, cafes and restaurants will ultimately benefit from the increased footfall.”


The site was purchased by the team at ALB Group back in October 2020 and is just one in a vast portfolio of similar projects for the firm, which has transformed similar office spaces into housing in Derby, Nottingham, Birkenhead and Halifax. 

The plans passed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council will see the empty site transformed within six months, with work starting imminently by HBW Construction to make that target possible.

It is expected that the new flats will provide buy to let investments for young working professionals, or for student living. 

David Carnell from Swish, the architects behind the project, adds: “Located right in the heart of Hanley, this redevelopment of a tired office block will provide town centre living raised above the busy streets, with everyday needs just a stone's throw away.”

“With easy access to the train station to the south providing good services to Manchester, Birmingham and London, Hanley is the ideal place to live.”

Bailey concludes: “We are delighted that the planners saw and understood our vision for this project, and we hope that it will bring a much-needed boost to the town.”

Largest steel panel factory in UK set to deliver 4,000 homes per year

A ‘highly advanced’ manufacturing and construction company is set to offer the most technologically advanced light gauge steel panel system to the marketplace.

British Offsite specialises in the design and production of superstructure and interior fit modular construction solutions which can be tailored to a developer’s needs.

Its launch will see the company selling its exterior building and interior fit-out components to builders and contractors in the construction sector, including local and regional housebuilders.

Customers of British Offsite will be invited to place orders for the manufacture, delivery and installation on-site of these high-quality factory-made components, helping to save them on construction times and costs.

An intrinsic part of the British Offsite service is their detailed collaboration with their customers on sequencing and construction programme management, to ensure that the efficiency of the UNI System is optimised. 

Founded with £35 million investment from Weston Group, British Offsite says it is focused on making the transition to offsite construction a natural evolution for developers, whilst saving clients time, space and resources on-site.

The system is said to be flexible and can be used for hybrid MMC elements in houses, mid-rise and high-rise sites, including those in high-density urban areas.

The UNI System range includes light gauge panels, walls, roofs and floors. The system is a specially developed hybrid MMC that is highly flexible and allows rapid integration into traditional building design.

In addition, British Offsite also manufactures internal fit-out modules, under their BOS Fitout brand, which includes bathroom components, kitchen and bedroom products, designed to be easily integrated into existing projects, with full quality control testing before elements reach site.

The British Offsite factories have capacity for up to 150,000 linear metres of UNI System products per year, and will run for 20 hours per day, producing panels with windows, doors, insulation, vents, fire stopping and external cladding in place, manufactured exactly to a developer’s needs

British Offsite has just invested in a second state-of-the-art factory to run alongside their existing factory in Braintree, Essex, to produce their UNI System of light gauge steel panels. This new factory's robotic production line will be operated by the British Offsite workforce and is enhancing the business's capacity to enable it to deliver 400% more construction activity per employee.

The £6 million production line is being delivered by Swedish partner Randek AB and will boast a host of new machinery, automation and productivity solutions of which British Offsite will be the first customer in the UK to receive.

Shaun Weston, managing director of British Offsitem, says: “British Offsite has been launched to radically reduce the risk and delays in construction, an unrivalled delivery capacity helping to deliver occupiable homes faster.”

“Our MMC products are designed to be easily integrated into existing projects, helping to streamline traditional residential construction. Our state-of-the-art facilities will include the largest steel panel factory in the UK, with the most advanced light-gauge steel assembly line in Europe, meaning we can deliver precise products more quickly for our customers.” 

“We have carefully assembled our own team, bringing together a strong combination of blended experience from the construction, automotive, general manufacturing, and engineering industries, to put ourselves at the very forefront of this fast-moving arena.”

He continues: “The skills shortage in the construction industry was widely reported before Brexit, and now we’re in a post-Brexit environment where the pandemic has further reduced access to skills. With the work of up to five trades consolidated into our panels, our customers are more protected from the skills shortage and construction can continue unhindered.”

British Offsite can work on projects of all sizes and types, from 10 plots to over 1,000. The product range is attractively priced and has been developed with one of the most competitive builders in the industry. 

Internals pricing starts at £1,500 for bathrooms to be installed, from £500 for wardrobes installed and £1,200 for quartz kitchen worktops installed. All other products and service pricing is subject to specification and project-specific details. 

Developer buys Wood Green site for £33m GDV mixed-use dev

Weston Homes has successfully acquired a 0.6-acre site on Caxton Road, Wood Green to create a new £33 million gross development value (GDV) mixed-use residential-led development.

Situated just 300 metres from Wood Green Underground Station and in close proximity to a wide range of facilities along Wood Green High Street, the site has lain out of use for fourteen years. 

Weston Homes purchased the site from boutique London developer Aitch Group, with the consented plans due to breathe new life into the site.

The consented plans, which occupy a prominent corner position at the junction of Caxton Road and Mayes Road, see the erection of a single mixed-use building of between four and nine storeys high, spanning a total proposed area of 78,748 sq ft GIA.

Residential units will sit above 9,716 sq ft of flexible commercial space, divided into seven separate units – three being ground floor only, and four arranged over both ground and first floors. The upper floors will provide 75 high-quality residential apartments including 50 private sale homes, and 25 affordable homes comprising 10 shared ownership and 15 London affordable rental units.

Development roundup – from sky high flats to steel panel factories

The site was granted detailed planning consent by the London Borough of Haringey in May 2021, with contracts exchanged in June at a land purchase price of £7.8m. The land acquisition was successfully completed in July 2021. 

Weston Homes has an established reputation for high-quality design and build standards, with many of their developments catered to first-time buyers, young professionals and families. 

Chairman and managing director Bob Weston comments: “We are delighted to have successfully exchanged on Caxton Road which is a key redevelopment site for the area. Having been disused for fourteen years we are excited to be able to bring the site back to full use and transform it into a new destination to live, attracting both retail and people to this North London location.”

Stephen Hollyoak, land director at Aitch Group, adds: “We are pleased that Weston Homes will redevelop the Caxton Road site and bring a new community of residents and retail facilities to the disused site.”

“These pockets of land, with good transport connections and local amenities, offer excellent opportunities with the new homes set to appeal to both those looking to relocate to the area and local residents.”


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