McCarthy & Stone Rage over Planning

The Birmingham Post (England), April 23, 2004 | Go to article overview
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McCarthy & Stone Rage over Planning


Byline: John Revill

Retirement home builder McCarthy & Stone has complained about 'frustrating' planning delays which it said was hindering the construction of new homes in Britain.

More and more pensioners wanted to swap their existing houses for smaller, more manageable properties, the company said.

But McCarthy & Stone said the planning process had reduced the number of flats it had sold and built in the six months to February 29.

Despite these concerns, the company managed to achieve its target of properties completed and increased pre-tax profits by 11 per cent to pounds 44.1 million.

Although it reported a fall in unit sales from 831 to 780, the company increased its turnover by nine per cent to pounds 110.8 million.

Keith Lovelock, chairman and chief executive of the company, said: 'I am very happy with these results, considering we started the year with a very low stock level compared to the previous period.

'We knew we would have a job achieving the same levels as last year, but we did manage to hit our target for the first six months.

'But the delays are getting worse. It now takes about a year to get planning consent, we don't accept it should it take that long.'

The company's performance was helped by a 16 per cent increase in average sales price to pounds 142,000.

In the West Midlands, where it has projects at Aldridge, Selly Oak, Solihull, Tamworth, Droitwich and Malvern, the average price for new properties ranged between pounds 118,000 and pounds 126,0000,

Mr Lovelock said: 'It is going very well in the Midlands, with about 17 per cent of our sales coming from that region, compared to 12 per cent in the last period.'

He said he was confident demand would increase for retirement homes in future, with reservations on the increase.

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