|Headquarters||Brentwood, Essex, England, UK|
|Key people||Graham Cherry Chief Executive, Richard Cherry Deputy Chairman|
Its headquarters are in Brentwood, Essex. The largest concentration of its activity is in London and the Thames Gateway, but it also has divisions working in the South East, East and North West of England.
The housebuilding business that became Countryside Properties was founded by Alan Cherry, CBE, who remained its Chairman until his death in January 2010. His eldest son, Graham Cherry, was appointed to the board in 1984 and has been Chief Executive since 1996; his youngest son Richard Cherry was appointed to the board in 1986 and was appointed Deputy Chairman in 2005.
Alan Cherry, a chartered surveyor, began his career as an estate agent and was one of the founding partners of Bairstow Eves. In 1959, the four Bairstow partners formed Copthorn as a development business, with Alan Cherry running it part-time. One of the Bairstow clients was another developer, Countryside Properties, formed in 1958 by Solomon 'Bob' Bobroff, and in the late 1960s the two concerns began to work together. In 1972 Countryside acquired Copthorn and, with Bobroff as Chairman and Alan Cherry as a joint managing director, Countryside was floated on the London Stock Exchange.
The flotation was closely followed by recession and in 1975 Countryside passed its final dividend. Bobroff had resigned in 1974, and the subsequent expansion was under the sole direction of Alan Cherry. He emphasised the importance of design and marketing and took the Company into a series of very large sites, e.g. Chelmer Village and Chatham Maritime.
In 2005, Alan Cherry sought to take the company private. A prominent investor, Paul Kemsley and Joe Lewis's Rock Properties, increased its stake to 28.5%, forcing Cherry to pay more for the company. Countryside was bought out by Copthorn Holdings Ltd, which was then jointly owned by the Cherry family and the Bank of Scotland, part of Lloyds Banking Group.
The company achieved record profits in the following two years, amounting to £27 million on a turnover of £430 million in the year ended September 2007. However, the late-2000s financial crisis affected housebuilders acutely, and the company recorded a loss of £22 million on sales of £312 million in the year to September 2008. Under a refinancing deal in October 2009, Lloyds took control of the company. Countryside returned to profit in 2011, but recorded a £4 million loss for 2012.
In 2013, Oaktree Capital Management purchased a majority share in the company, making a further capital injection. The Cherry family retain a minority stake, and Lloyds provided five-year loan facilities. As of October 2014, former Keepmoat chief executive Ian Sutcliffe became the new executive chairman of house builder Countryside Properties.
Following this, the company revealed a new corporate brand identity to provide it with a solid platform for growth. The company will simply be known as Countryside, rather than Countryside Properties, and in recognition of its undoubted ability as a place maker has adopted the positioning ‘Places People Love’, as well as unveiling a new logo.
Examples of work
Great Notley Garden Village is an extension to the town of Braintree, Essex, built over a decade starting in 1993. As well as almost 2,000 homes in three separate 'hamlets', it has a primary school, church, community centre, doctors' surgery, supermarket, chip shop and village green. The Village is cited as an example of Countryside’s design philosophy of 'maturity' and 'community'.
Great Kneighton is located 3.7 km south of Cambridge between the village of Trumpington, Cambridgeshire and Addenbrooke's Hospital, and lies in the Cambridge Southern Fringe growth area. The overall development will eventually provide up to 2,250 new homes, extensive strategic open space, accompanying provision of education facilities, sports and recreation, health and community facilities and local shopping facilities. Forty per cent of the new homes will be affordable housing.
The overall vision for Wickhurst Green is to provide an extension to the existing village of Broadbridge Heath, providing much-needed new homes and community facilities. At the heart of this new development will be a new primary school and village centre, creating the opportunity for new community and healthcare facilities. Integral to the development is the provision of a wide range of outdoor activities for sports and recreation. As well as local greens and landscaped spaces for informal recreation, residents will be able to enjoy two large neighbourhood play areas designed for a range of age groups, several formal sports pitches and courts with changing, parking and social facilities.
Beaulieu is a sustainable urban extension to the North East of Chelmsford. Countryside are working in a joint venture with London & Quadrant to create a sustainable community on 850 acres in a highly accessible location between the A130 and the A12 at the Boreham Interchange. Key elements of the overall proposals include a mixed-use residential and commercial development providing up to 3,600 new mixed-tenure homes, and a site for a new railway station - one of only a handful of new station proposals in the UK which has full rail industry support.
Greenwich Millennium Village Limited, a joint venture between Countryside and Taylor Wimpey, won a government-initiated competition in February 1998 to transform the former site of Europe's largest gas works into a sustainable new community. It is one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe. The Village won a sustainability award at the RIBA Housing Design Awards and a Civic Trust Award in 2004. 1,095 homes had been completed by 2008, and further phases are planned.
In 2008, Guinness Trust chose Countryside in 2008 as contractor for regeneration of the Loughborough Park Estate in Brixton, south London. The project includes replacing 390 homes built in the 1930s with 530 new homes and community facilities.
The company has received more than 290 awards for design and sustainability since 2000, including more CABE Building for Life Standards for design and environmental excellence than any other private developer. It won RIBA Housing Design Awards in 2000 to 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2013, and Building Awards 2002 to 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2013.
In 2008 its Accordia development in Cambridge was the first housing scheme to win the RIBA Stirling Prize for architecture. The same project had previously been the Overall Winner & Medium Housebuilder Winner of the RIBA Housing Design Award 2006, repeating the awards which the company had won in 2004 and 2005.
In 2013 its Villa housetype at Kings Park, Harold Wood, won the silver award in the 'Best House' category, as part of the What House? Awards. It also won the silver award in the 'Best Retirement Development' category for Cliveden Village, Taplow. Its Horsted Park development in Chatham was named as 'Housing Project of the Year' at the 2013 Building Awards.
Countryside together with its partner Liberty Property Trust received the ‘Place Making Award’ for the Cambridge Biomedical Campus at the Property Awards 2014. Countryside in association with Royal National Institute of Blind People received the BBC/RHS People's Choice Award following their earlier accolades of Gold Medal and the award for Best Fresh Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014.
Countryside reigned supreme at the prestigious Housing Design Awards 2014, winning the Supreme Award for the most outstanding new homes development for Abode, part of Great Kneighton in Cambridge. Abode also received the Graham Pye Award for the development which has the most responsive design to how we live. Horsted Park in Chatham, Kent also received a coveted Housing Design Award in the Completed Scheme category. This year's wins represent a milestone for Countryside, as the company has now received more Housing Design Awards than any other developer.
In November 2014, Countryside were praised with two What House? Awards, including the Silver Award for ‘Best Interior Design’ for its show home at Aura, and a What House? Bronze Award for Best Development for Abode, both at Great Kneighton in Cambridge.
||This article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot. (July 2014)|
-  on official website
- Countryside Properties enjoys record £27m profit, Contract Journal, 14 Feb 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2009.[dead link]
- Countryside chair Alan Cherry dies, Inside Housing, 25 Jan 2010
- Wellings, Fred. Dictionary of British Housebuilders (2006), Troubador. ISBN 978-0-9552965-0-5.
- History on official website
- "Tottenham Hotspur man becomes a player in online games". London: The Sunday Times. 5 Dec 2005. Retrieved 5 Jun 2009.
- Julie Miecamp (26 February 2013). "Oaktree Capital Buys U.K.’s Countryside Capital From Lloyds". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
- Daisy Froud, Countryside Properties and the Shape of Time, University of London, 2002. Reprinted in Home Cultures Journal, 2004. Illustrated academic review of Great Notley Garden Village and Beaulieu Park, Chelmsford.
- Greenwich Millennium Village, London at English Partnerships website (2008)
- Greenwich Millennium Village at CABE website
- Countryside wins £105m Lambeth regeneration scheme, Contract Journal, 22 Oct 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2009.[dead link]
- Tom Dyckhoff, Stirling Prize 2008 winner: Accordia housing development, Cambridge, 14 October 2008, The Times
- Accordia, Cambridge, RIBA Housing Design Awards 2006
- RIBA St Mary's Island, Housing Design Awards 2004
- Bennet’s Courtyard, London, SW19, RIBA Housing Design Awards 2005
- 'Place Making' award key to Countryside, Countryside website, 14 April 2014.