Successful year for Brick By Brick, defying wider economic sentiment
We’re delighted to reflect on a really great year for us, proving our innovative model works at a challenging time for public sector finances.
We have completed 283 homes, of which 131 are affordable (including 107 council homes). These homes are located on 15 sites throughout the borough and form part of our first ‘Small Sites’ programme. The range of schemes represents a key milestone for us, since we were established in 2016 with the aim of increasing the pace and quality of supply of new and affordable homes in Croydon.
We expect to post a profit for financial year 19/20, defying the wider residential slowdown brought about by Brexit stasis and the Covid-19 crisis. This comes as Croydon Council announces a strategic financial review to analyse budgets in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
We generated £23m in revenues in the financial year 19/20, and expect to announce a pre-tax profit of c£250k in audited accounts, which are due to be published shortly. In addition, this development activity creates c£6m of surplus land value, to be returned to the council as overage, as well as £14m to be returned to the council as interest on loans on sales completion.
Under our innovative business model, all revenues and profit from development activity are returned to the council to be reinvested in Croydon. This also supports the delivery of new affordable housing to be built throughout the borough.
The newly completed housing schemes have been designed by a range of leading architectural practices, including Stirling prize-winning Mikhail Riches, Coffey Architects, Pitman Tozer, Stitch and HTA Design. Our own architecture arm, Common Ground Architecture, has also successfully completed its first housing project at Pump House in South Norwood as part of the programme, a scheme which also includes a new public library.
Completed homes range from one bedroom apartments to three bedroom family houses and are available in a range of tenures, from affordable rent to private sale, many of which are available with Help To Buy. We offer Croydon residents priority on all homes.
Residents are now moving into their new homes and sales continue to progress well, despite the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on investment and lending sentiment, with more than 85% of our available stock now under offer or sold.
Colm Lacey, Brick By Brick chief executive, said:
“I am delighted to continue to deliver on our promise to deliver new and affordable homes for the people of Croydon, having completed hundreds of apartments and houses since our establishment in 2016. Throughout this time, we have not scrimped on quality – without exception, these are beautifully designed, robust and sustainable homes to make Croydon residents, both new and old, proud.
“We also generated significant revenues for our shareholder in the last financial year, demonstrating the viability of our model. This is particularly important at a time when local authorities and the wider public sector are struggling with unprecedented challenges”.
We currently have an additional 588 homes on site or under contract, and in Spring 2020 we launched our next Small Sites Development Programme, submitting 24 schemes comprising 374 homes for planning permission. A further six schemes comprising around 310 homes will be submitted in the Autumn, bringing the total number of homes to be delivered through this next wave of development to over 1,200.
We have also committed to a new set of One Planet Living principles to ensure that both our developments and our business operations are doing all they can to meet the challenge of the climate emergency. The One Planet Living principles cover ten commitments, including everything from using sustainable materials in construction, zero waste to landfill, achieving net zero carbon emissions from heating and energy use, and encouraging sustainable forms of transport as well as designing homes to foster health, wellbeing and quality of life.
In 2019/20 we also completed the wholesale refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls on behalf of Croydon Council and secured planning permission for the wider development of the Fairfield Homes site, which will provide 421 new homes above flexible office, retail and leisure space in Croydon town centre.
The proceeds from development of the Fairfield Homes site, including the sale of the homes, will be used to cross-fund the refurbishment of Fairfield Halls, which we have transformed into a world class concert and events venue, working with MICA Architects, to become the focal point of Croydon’s creative and cultural scene.
We have also been collaborating with Crystal Palace Community Land Trust and Croydon Council on the first community-led housing scheme to be delivered in the borough: The Lawns in Crystal Palace.