Berkeley Group Holdings

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Berkeley Group Holdings plc
Public limited company
Traded asLSEBKG
FTSE 100 Component
Founded1976; 44 years ago (1976)
HeadquartersCobham, England, UK
Key people
RevenueIncrease £2,957.4 million (2019)[1]
Decrease £768.4 million (2019)[1]
Decrease £627.4 million (2019)[1]
Number of employees
2,673 (2019)[1]

The Berkeley Group Holdings plc is a British property developer based in Cobham, England. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


The company was founded by Tony Pidgley[2] and Jim Farrer in Weybridge in 1976 as Berkeley Homes, a name borne by regional subsidiaries. Pidgley (the dominant partner) and Farrer had previously run the housing division of Crest Homes and it was their aim to focus on executive housing on single plots or small sites. Over the next few years, Berkeley expanded across the home counties and while building less than 100 houses a year, it floated its shares on the Unlisted Securities Market in 1984.[3]

After the flotation, Berkeley expanded geographically to the west, the south midlands and East Anglia; it also formed a joint venture, St George, to build in central London. By 1988, Berkeley was building over 600 executive homes a year. By then Pidgley was aware of the overheating in the housing market and sold houses aggressively to realise cash. For two years the company did no more than break even but its cash position was strong and in 1991 it was able to purchase the Manchester-based Crosby Homes and the outstanding 50% of St George;[4] Berkeley began buying large development sites at depressed prices. The 1990s was the decade in which Berkeley moved its operational orientation to major urban regeneration sites in London, Birmingham, Manchester and other northern cities.[5]

In the early 2000s, Berkeley refined its strategy to concentrate primarily on relatively large scale urban redevelopments in the London area. In 2003 it announced the deferred sale of Crosby Homes. The reduction in scale was intended to generate surplus cash and 2004 saw a scheme of arrangement to return £1.45m to shareholders.[5]

In 2015, the company won Large Developer of the Year at the RESI awards organised by Property Week.[6]

In March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, Berkeley said that coronavirus had cost it £80m in just six weeks and began shutting down most of its sites,[7] having earlier cancelled a £455m shareholder payout.[8] In June 2020, the company announced it was consulting on up to 200 redundancies,[9] and revealed its pre-tax profits were down 35% partly due to the COVID-19 impact, with falls in sales and revenues.[10]

Founder and chairman Tony Pidgley died, after suffering a stroke, in June 2020. Non-executive director Glyn Barker was appointed interim chairman[11] for up to two years until a permanent replacement is identified.[12]

Berkeley Homes' business suffered as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, with profits falling by a third. This resulted in the company pushing back payment of £455m to shareholders by two years.[13]


Berkeley Group offices in Cobham, Surrey
Saffron Square, Croydon
Kingsmead Park, Kent

Berkeley Homes has built some apartment towers in central London, including the One Blackfriars skyscraper (2014).[14] In smaller operations it runs urban redevelopment programmes via Berkeley Community Villages and constructs in commercial property via Berkeley Commercial. Another subsidiary, Berkeley First, builds student and key worker accommodation. The operational subsidiaries include Berkeley Homes plc, which plans the largest estates and hires contractors with responsibility for management of communal areas unless and until taken over by residents' Right to Manage companies. The developer imposes covenants to retain value across homes in its neighbourhoods.[15]

Large examples of operations include community facilities with village-sized neighbourhoods which are green-buffered and constructed closes of apartments and houses; for example, a scheme in Bracknell for 750 new homes, a primary school, extra care facility, roads, landscaping and local shops to be constructed on mixed use land to expand the Warfield suburb, beside the town's computing and headquarters business parks.[16] In London developments include Wimbledon Hill Park and Royal Arsenal Riverside in Woolwich.[17]

Happy Man Tree dispute[edit]

Berkeley Homes has been involved in a dispute with environmental campaigners over a 150 year old plane tree which it wants removed as part of regeneration work on Woodberry Down estate in Hackney. Berkeley Homes and Hackney Council sought an injunction against peaceful protesters from blocking the removal of the tree, which was granted.[18] Supporters of the tree were 'devastated' on 26 June 2020, when the High Court granted Berkeley Homes and Hackney Council the injunction to stop protesters blocking their demolition work.[19] Protesters delivered a petition to save the tree with 22,000 signatures and a papier maché axe to the leader of Hackney Council, asking him if he was prepared to strike the first blow.[20] Hackney Council argued that the tree would cause “design harm and reduction in affordable housing”.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2019" (PDF). Berkeley Group Holdings. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Father, son square up for Berkeley Battle". The Telegraph. 18 February 2003. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  3. ^ "There is still so much to build". Property Chronicle. 2 November 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  4. ^ Adams, David; Watkins, Craig (2002). Greenfields, Brownfields and Housing Development. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 124. ISBN 978-0632063871.
  5. ^ a b Wellings, Fred: Dictionary of British Housebuilders (2006) Troubador. ISBN 978-0-9552965-0-5
  6. ^ "RESI Awards 2016". Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  7. ^ Rogers, Dave (27 March 2020). "Berkeley warns on profit and begins shutting sites". Building. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  8. ^ Kelly, Megan (12 March 2020). "Berkeley postpones £455m shareholder payout amid coronavirus outbreak". Construction News. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  9. ^ Morby, Aaron (16 June 2020). "Sisk, Multiplex and Berkeley join industry jobs cull". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  10. ^ Gardiner, Joey (17 June 2020). "Covid disruption sees Berkeley profit slump by a third". Building. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  11. ^ Prior, Grant (26 June 2020). "Berkeley Group founder Tony Pidgley dies". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  12. ^ Marshall, Jordan (23 July 2020). "Glyn Barker to chair Berkeley following death of Tony Pidgley". Building. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Berkeley Group profits fall by a third after coronavirus lockdown". CityAM. 17 June 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Berkeley Wins Beetham Boomerang Bid". 21 October 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Freehold, Right to Manage, JIRA & Managing Agents". Jacobs Island Residents Association. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  16. ^ "Emerging proposals by Berkeley Homes... Archived 15 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine November 2013. Bracknell Forest Council. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  17. ^ "Property Hotspots along District Line" London Evening Standard Homes and Property domain. Retrieved 14 May 2014
  18. ^ "Berkeley chair raises concerns over 'mortgage prisoner' impact on housing market". Inside Housing. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  19. ^ Chant, Holly. "'They may cut the tree down, but they are losing the argument,' says Happy Man Tree Supporter after council granted injunction". Hackney Gazette. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  20. ^ Chant, Holly. "Happy Man Tree Supporters deliver petition and papier-mache axe to Hackney Mayor". Hackney Gazette. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  21. ^ "Thousands plead with developer Berkeley Homes not to fell Happy Man Tree". Hackney Citizen. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.

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