Last year we expanded our presence in the South West by opening a new office in Exeter. Regional Director, Ed Lewis heads the team with support from Development Manager, Louis Hamston (pictured). Talking of current projects and the opportunities he sees in the region, Ed has shared insight as to what he believes makes Acorn a great joint venture partner.
Exeter is a city with big ambitions. It is seeing considerable growth and a rising national profile and Acorn wants to be part of this continuing success, delivering the homes that are desperately needed across the region.
It is a city which has it all: A fantastic University, a strong and varied employment base, access to the most beautiful countryside and beaches in the country and great transport links.
We recently achieved detailed planning permission to develop 146 houses and apartments plus a retirement living scheme and a care home on the site of the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education on Topsham Road in Exeter. Acorn already has offices in Bristol, Cornwall, Cardiff, Hampshire and London but our new base in Exeter allows us to be on-hand to deliver this important and high-profile scheme but also to strengthen our presence in the South West region.
It’s an area that offers fantastic opportunities for residential development as there is so much variety in terms of locations and lifestyles. I am currently looking at opportunities in the City centre for apartments as well as listed building conversions close to Dartmoor and also housing sites on the beach in the South Hams.
As long as sites are in prime locations with strong sales values they can be listed buildings, conversions, greenfield or brownfield sites with or without planning permission. The key factor is that the site enables us to develop interesting, bespoke and desirable residential or mixed-use schemes.
We do a lot of joint venture deals, finding that a bespoke approach to development helps secure planning permission by reducing risk or time delays. We are able to react to the specific requirements of each site and maximise returns to our development partners.
There is no set way of doing things at Acorn and that is what makes us the perfect JV partner as we are completely flexible. As well as looking to expand our portfolio over the coming year we will be looking to invest in our Exeter office and grow our team.
Words by Ed Lewis.