Bellway

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Bellway plc
Public
Traded asLSEBWY
IndustryHousebuilding
Founded1946
HeadquartersNewcastle upon Tyne, England, UK
Key people
Paul Hampden Smith (Chairman)
Jason Honeyman (CEO)
RevenueIncrease £3.213.2 million (2019)[1]
Increase £674.9 million (2019)[1]
Increase £538.6 million (2019)[1]
Number of employees
2,980 (2019)[1]
Websitewww.bellway.co.uk

Bellway plc is a residential property developer based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.[2] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

History[edit]

A Bellway development in Hampshire, England
A Bellway development in Clackmannanshire, Scotland

The company was founded in 1946 by John Thomas Bell and his sons John and Russell as a housebuilder operating in Newcastle upon Tyne under the name John T. Bell & Sons.[3] In 1951 Kenneth Bell, the youngest of the brothers, joined the business.[4]

The three brothers also developed commercial property in the 1950s and their company, North British Properties, was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1961. In 1963, North British acquired John T Bell in a reverse takeover.[5]

The Bell family managed to tap into the huge demand for private housing that followed World War II promoting developments such as Cramlington New Town, built in partnership with William Leech in the early 1960s.[6] Bellway developed a substantial housebuilding operation in the north of England and sales reached 1,500 units in 1972 with a further 500 in the newly formed Australian and French subsidiaries. In 1973, Bellway moved into the south-east with the purchase of A & R A Searle. The group continued to expand through England in the 1970s but its overseas operations were less successful and were eventually closed.[7]

In 1979 the "Bellway" private housebuilding business was demerged from the commercial side of the business under the leadership of Kenneth Bell. In 1981 Bellway and fellow Newcastle housebuilder William Leech announced a merger but it was called off within days: "the lifestyle of the two firms looked pretty incompatible".[8]

Diversification had not been wholly satisfactory; Ken Bell became largely non-executive and the day-to-day running of the business was assumed by Howard Dawe. Dawe reorganised the business, resumed the regional expansion on a more profitable basis and increased the company's focus on regeneration sites.[7]

Family involvement with the company ended with the death of Kenneth Bell in 1997.[9]

In 2018, the company was reported to be on track to build 10,000 homes for the first time in its history. This activity was attributed to low interest rates and good mortgage finance providing buoyancy to the housing market.[10]

In common with other housebuilders, Bellway was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom during 2020; in June, it reported sales had fallen by more than two-thirds since the introduction of lockdown, and expected "year-on-year sales activity to be severely constrained until a time when 'lockdown' restrictions are further lifted."[11] A month later, it announced plans to cut up to 175 jobs, around 6% of its 3,100-strong workforce.[12]

Fire safety concerns[edit]

A major fire broke out in July 2015 at a housing development constructed by Bellway in Canterbury, which destroyed and damaged 45 homes. An investigation launched in 2016 discovered problems in the fire separation constructed between the properties. Repairs to the development began in November 2018.[13]

In May 2019 a Watchdog investigation was screened on BBC One regarding the fire safety of Bellway and Persimmon plc homes. In the programme a surveyor visited an estate developed by Bellway after concerns about fire safety had been raised by a resident. The investigation found safety breaches in every property that was looked at due to poorly fitted fire barriers.[14]

On 9 June 2019 a fire took place at the newly built Samuel Garside House located in De Pass Garden, which was constructed by Bellway. Peter Mason, chair of the Barking Reach residents’ association had contacted Bellway prior to the fire expressing concern about the potential fire risk of the development, but was told not to worry.[15] London mayor Sadiq Khan described the fire as "shocking" and stated that it could have "easily resulted in fatalities".[16]

Operations[edit]

The company does not have national house types and prefers to develop local designs with the help of local people.[17] It achieved a 5 star rating in the 2015/16 Home Builders Federation new home customer satisfaction survey.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Results for the year ended 31 July 2019" (PDF). Bellway Corporate. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Bellway PLC (BWY.L)". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  3. ^ Wellings, Fred (7 September 2006). British Housebuilders. google.co.uk. ISBN 9781405149181. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  4. ^ "A reputation you can rely on" (PDF). Bellway. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  5. ^ Company prospectus, January 1961
  6. ^ No longer the pits Telegraph, 21 March 2003
  7. ^ a b Wellings, Fred: Dictionary of British Housebuilders (2006) Troubador. ISBN 978-0-9552965-0-5.
  8. ^ Building, June 1981
  9. ^ "Bellway builds on housing recovery". The Independent. 29 October 1997. Archived from the original on 7 November 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  10. ^ Curry, Rhiannon (20 March 2018). "Bellway nears 10,000-homes-a-year target for the first time". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  11. ^ Gardiner, Joey (9 June 2020). "Bellway sales plummet since beginning of covid-19 lockdown". Building. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  12. ^ Marshall, Jordan (23 July 2020). "Bellway starts redundancy talks with 175 staff". Building. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Construction faults in homes in Canterbury's Old Tannery fixed to improve fire safety". Kent Online. 22 November 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  14. ^ "'New-build homes not fire safe', BBC investigation finds". BBC News. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  15. ^ "Barking fire: Investigation launched after blaze destroys 20 flats in east London". Telegraph. 5 June 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  16. ^ "Barking flats fire: Residents had safety concerns before blaze". BBC News. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  17. ^ "About us". Bellway. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  18. ^ "National new home customer satisfaction survey" (PDF). Home Builders Federation. Retrieved 2 May 2017.

External links[edit]

Official site