David Currie has joined the firm as Land and Partnerships Director and will help spearhead the company’s drive to grow its Affordable Living brand and increase its share of the affordable housing market.
The firm, which is celebrating its 85th anniversary, has a long history in home building and is looking to make affordable housing 30 per cent of its group business over the next five years.
The new role will see Currie, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the industry, work to further increase Deeley Group’s extensive land holdings and also establish and strengthen relationships with providers in the affordable homes sector.
Currie has had senior roles at CBRE and Public Sector Plc and is returning to the city where he started his career to help drive the expansion.
He said: “The Deeley Group is very highly respected in the industry and it has always made affordable housing a priority. It is looking to grow that part of its business over the next few years and, with construction, development and housing at its core, it is very well placed to do that.
“I have worked with the Eleanor Deeley in the past and I was really impressed with the vision the company has for growth, alongside what it stands for in terms of community and team working. The company might be 85-years-old, but it is very agile and ambitious in its approach.”
Deeley has worked in housing since its formation and has partnered providers including Orbit Homes, Stonewater, Platform Housing Group, and Housing 21 in recent years as well as developing its own sites for sale in the Midlands.
Eleanor Deeley said: “We are focused on growing our Affordable Living business and David will build upon the strong relationships we have in this very active market. We are delighted to welcome David to the Deeley team.
“Our reputation and relationships in that market are very strong. Our longevity, financial performance and ability to deliver for clients is very well established and it is vital for providers to be partnered with companies that have a proven pedigree.
“We have such a strong construction arm it allows us to engineer developments from the outset, meaning there is more value to be gained for partners.
“David’s appointment is a key factor in our growth plans. He has an excellent track record and he actually used to be my client before I joined Deeley, so we go back a decade, and have a very similar approach.”
The site of a former school in Wyken, Coventry is set to be re-developed as affordable housing after planning permission was granted for 39 homes.
The site was formerly the home of Dartmouth School and was then a temporary home for The Seva School up until September 2015.
Since Seva School moved to its new home in Walsgrave, it has been a redundant brownfield site for almost five years.
Planning permission has now been granted for 23 affordable rented and 16 shared ownership properties to be built on Tiverton Road, by Coventry-based family firm Deeley Group for leading housing provider Stonewater.
The site was originally purchased from Coventry City Council and upon completion will feature 39 brand-new homes comprising a mix of two, three and four-bedroom houses.
Stonewater and Deeley Group previously worked together on the successful development of another affordable development at Feather Lane in Nuneaton, which completed earlier this year.
The Deeley Group has a proud history of projects in the area with founder George Deeley building nearby St John Fisher school in the 1950s – who was also joined by a young Peter Deeley, now managing director, who drove a dumper on the site.
Peter went on to help build St John Fisher Church in the 1970s, and current Deeley Construction managing director Martin Gallagher was on-site to build the parish hall in the 1990s.
Now Eleanor Deeley, as part of Deeley Affordable Living, has secured the planning for the delivery of this new housing for the community.
Peter Deeley, Managing Director of the Deeley Group, said: “There is a genuine need for more housing of this type in Coventry and we are pleased to be able to deliver this development alongside our partners.
“We have a strong relationship with Stonewater and we are looking forward to working closely with them again, after the great success of our project in Nuneaton.
“With planning now approved, work will be starting on site in the coming months.
“This scheme will provide vital affordable housing for the community in Wyken and surrounding areas and makes good use of what would otherwise be a redundant brownfield site.
“Deeley Group has a history of development in the area, building St John Fisher Catholic Primary school in the 1950s and St John Fisher church and hall in the 1970s. Many years ago I drove machinery on the nearby site as I began my career in construction.
“We have great expertise in delivering developments of this type for local people, and it is the latest in a string of affordable housing schemes we have worked on in Coventry, Warwickshire and further afield.”
Matt Crucefix, Director of Development (West) at Stonewater, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Deeley Group on another regenerative project so that we can make better use of this brownfield site.
“Trying to manage the spread of Covid-19 over the last few months has shone a light on just how important it is that everyone has a place to call home and has really amplified the importance of our work as a social housing provider.
“We’re looking forward for work to get underway at Tiverton Road, so we can support the local community and bring more much-needed affordable homes to Wyken.”
Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director of the Deeley Group, on how construction is adapting to a limited return to site working
There is no doubt that parts of the economy are beginning to show signs of life – but the tap is only being turned on very slowly.
I was on one of many recent video calls when someone said that as we end lockdown it will be a little like when you have had your boiler repaired. When you turn on tap it splutters as the pipes refill and takes a while for the flow to be resumed.
On the construction side of the Deeley Group, the announcement of lockdown and social distancing meant our tap was tightly turned off and we closed our 11 sites.
I fully appreciate that it is very difficult for Government to be clear and concise bearing in mind the myriad of unprecented measures they are bringing in at the moment but there was, at best, uncertainty as to what was essential working.
Also, the advice that work would continue also came with a heavy hint that there was little understanding as to how a site works and that did cause concern in the industry.
Slowly the sector got to grips with exactly how we could continue working to a level while strictly adhering to the social distancing rules. That has, inevitably, meant big changes in how we work.
For example, signing in is now by text rather than an electronic fingerprint system; canteens are closed; site times, break times and lunch times are staggered; we can only have 10-30 per cent of the number of people on site to allow for social distancing.
There have been struggles getting materials – especially plasterboard – and many of the builders’ merchants were closed until very recently. That is all easing and the supply of UK-produced goods is getting much better, but there will be times when we are held up by the absence of products such as lifts or air-conditioning units, which have to be imported.
Interestingly, in a world of sub-contractors, there has been a total regard for the health and wellbeing of staff, which has been refreshing to witness particularly when, at the same time, there were images from major construction projects where workers paying no attention to the guidance.
Sub-contractors are only coming back to sites where they are confident that social distancing can be maintained and, when it can’t, there is suitable PPE used by all.
But no-one should be under the impression that this means we are back to normal. Social distancing is likely to remain in place for many months to come and this means that the rate of construction is going to remain low because of the limited numbers on site.
As ever, industry is going to have to find a way to overcome the hurdle. We might need
to extend working hours as we have the longer evenings arriving, almost operating a two-shift system to maximise the number of working hours on site.
I think an increase in weekend working is almost inevitable, but that will not only allow us to maintain progress as much as possible but it will also allow sub-contractors to earn, which will very welcome after the last two months.
Equally inevitable will be increased costs because efficient sequencing of a build will not be possible given the restrictions in place and the equipment shortages.
There are also other more trivial, but still important, consequences. Spirit on a site is always important but with people working alone we simply cannot interact in the same way.
There is going to be part of our morale that is absent as we miss the joke that we don’t hear, and the catch up over a coffee during a break.
But that is a small price to pay.
Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director of the Deeley Group, casts her eye over how the planning system is adjusting to life in lockdown
At a time when people have been panic buying shopping for toilet rolls, cutting their own hair and congregating for karaoke parties during the lockdown, it is refreshing – and indeed rare – to highlight the planning structure as a model of good sense.
Despite the tragic events which have crippled countries across the globe and robbed families of loved ones, other aspects of life have to try to operate as normal or at least adapt to the unique circumstances in which we find ourselves.
I think everyone has been pleasantly surprised, for example, how quickly people have adjusted to working from home and meeting virtually.
It would have been all too easy for development and construction to grind to a total halt. While many of the aspects of the profession have been rendered impossible through restrictions, the Government flexing planning regulations has allowed a great deal of work to continue when otherwise it would have been forced to cease.
The change has allowed more planning matters to be agreed under delegated powers which means that there continues to be a flow of applications being processed.
As with all aspects of business during the lockdown period, precise preparation and clear communication are vital in ensuring officers have as full a picture as possible allowing them to be comfortable they are able to make the right decisions.
The changes to planning regulations have also given council’s certain freedoms to decide the best ways to operate within guidelines.
Planning meetings can, for example, be held remotely with members logging in over the internet or on the telephone. The location of a meeting can now be defined digitally such as a web address or video conference call rather than a physical place.
As long as committee members, officers and applicants can hear and be heard then a meeting can go ahead. Contributions from the members of the public if they are allowed to speak can be registered in advantage.
I wonder how many times committees would like to have had a “mute facility” at their disposal in real meetings!
Public consultations are, by their very nature, far harder to carry out during lockdown yet the Local Government Association Planning Advisory Service has urged local authorities to press on employing social media, interactive maps and online information, and utilising virtual groups through channels such as Facebook.
These are still early days relative to public consultations and there are more formal and structured elements to the process which may not be able to be conducted remotely, and there is talk of guidance being flexed to make that possible should this situation continue.
There are elements which have proved trickier to overcome. Some smaller councils do not have it within their constitution to make decisions without a physical meeting while traffic counts – a key factor in planning applications and consents – are impossible to measure when we are restricted to essential journeys only.
Again, if lockdown continues then the system will have to adapt and research has shown that more than three quarters of councillors are behind the process continuing virtually until the crisis is behind us.
What this dreadful time has shown is that, when the pressure is on and needs must, the planning system, which at times seems massively inflexible, can be shaped and moulded to mutual benefit.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that spirit of understanding and mutual working continued long after this horrible period is over?
Leading housing provider Stonewater has been working with construction and development firm Deeley Group and Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council to develop much-needed affordable housing as part of the town’s wider regeneration project.
Feather Lane is a brand-new development of 27 homes built in partnership with The Deeley Group, which has been at the forefront of regeneration in Bermuda over several decades – aiming to boost economic growth across the town.
The scheme, which has benefited from Homes England grant funding as a result of Stonewater’s strategic partnership with Guinness, consists of eight two-bedroom and eleven three-bedroom affordable rent homes, as well as four two-bedroom and four three-bedroom shared ownership homes.
The average home in Nuneaton is currently priced at around £176,284, which is more than seven times the typical local wage. However, shared ownership is a part-buy part-rent scheme offering an affordable route to home ownership for first time buyers and local people struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.
Matt Crucefix, Director of Development (West) at Stonewater, said: “We are absolutely clear on our vision of giving everyone the opportunity to have a place that they can call home at Stonewater and we are always striving to find opportunities to make that vision a reality. It has been a pleasure working with The Deeley Group to transform this site and not only meet local housing needs, but support Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council with improving the local economy.”
Peter Deeley, managing director at the Deeley Group, said: “We are thrilled to have worked in partnership with Stonewater and Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council to bring forward much needed affordable housing for the local community.
“Bermuda is an area which is very close to our hearts as a company as we have been working on the regeneration of this part of Nuneaton for decades and this is another welcome addition.”
Clare Golby, Councillor for Arbury at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said: “I was invited to the official opening of the housing scheme at Feather Lane and was really impressed with what has been delivered. Stonewater’s development is well thought-out, and the homes are all spacious and lovely. Most importantly, the residents we spoke to were very happy with their new homes. This development compliments the earlier phases of the Feather Lane estate too, so overall I was really pleased.”
Building work is underway on a new Extra Care Living scheme in Chipping Norton after a ground-breaking ceremony last week.
The new scheme on land on Rockhill Farm is being developed by Housing 21 in partnership with West Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council, and will provide 80 one and two bedroom apartments for affordable rent and shared ownership. The development will offer people over the age of 55 a range of services and facilities including a 24 hour on-site care team for those who need it, a residents’ lounge and guest room plus a café/bistro dining area and hair salon, which will both be available to the local community.
The Extra Care Living development, located off Russell Way, is being built by Deeley Construction and is currently anticipated for completion in August 2021. The first residents are expected to move into their new homes in September 2021.
Cllr Lawrie Stratford, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Public Health Oxfordshire County Council said: “It is fantastic to see work begin at what will be a great development for our people over 55, offering an excellent standard of accommodation. It will also be so much more than just a place to live; it is being set up with the vision of creating an active and engaged community to support the wellbeing of its residents. We at Oxfordshire County Council were delighted to support this project with the land and to work with our partners Housing 21 and West Oxfordshire District Council to make this collective vision become a reality.”
Cllr Jeff Haine, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We are committed to ensuring enough affordable housing is built to meet the needs of local residents.
“We know there is a real demand for housing of this type in the District so it is fantastic to see this significant development getting off the ground.”
Lorraine Jenner, Head of Extra Care at Housing 21 said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council and West Oxfordshire District Council to provide the latest Extra Care scheme in Chipping Norton.
“Housing 21 is the leading provider of Extra Care across England, providing at least 10 percent of the country’s provision. We will be working closely with the local schools, older people’s groups and the social work teams in Chipping Norton to ensure a fully integrated and community feel to the scheme upon opening. This ceremony marks the beginning of a very exciting build journey in the area!”
Martin Gallagher, Managing Director of Deeley Construction, said: “We are delighted to be working with Housing 21 and the wider partnership on this much-needed new Extra Care scheme that will help to meet the needs of the local community, which is important to us as a Midlands company.
“We have delivered many schemes in the housing and care sector, but this is our first with Housing 21 and it has been great to be part of such a collaborative process.”
A senior Midlands property figure has taken up a new role – and will ensure a respected name lives on.
Eleanor Deeley, formerly a partner at Cushman & Wakefield who headed the Midlands residential team, has been appointed as the deputy managing director of the Deeley Group, a firm started by her grandfather in 1936.
Eleanor has 20 years’ experience in the property industry, including a nine-year spell at director level at CBRE, and has expertise in housing, mixed-use schemes and land development and investment across a range of property sectors.
Her new role will see her guiding the day-to-day operations of the £50 million turnover firm which includes construction, development and housing, as well as developing a longer-term strategy for the company which is based in Coventry.
She said: “I am really excited at the prospect of joining the Deeley Group as it is a company which has played a massive part in my life.
“I can remember going into the offices as a child, so to be going back there as a director having worked for two decades in the property industry is a great opportunity.
“I have seen the company go from strength to strength from very close at hand over decades, but to now be given the chance to help guide its fortunes is a massive privilege.
“My grandfather might have started the company before World War II, but the ethos of developing sustainably and responsibly while always adhering to the highest professional and ethical standards have remained true through the intervening years.”
The Deeley Group has developed across the UK and internationally under current managing director Peter Deeley, and has been behind some key developments including the 40-year regeneration of Bermuda in Nuneaton, Belgrade Plaza in Coventry and a whole range of housing and industrial developments throughout the region.
Peter Hartill, chairman of the Deeley Group, said: “This is a very exciting appointment for the company. Eleanor is a massively respected figure in the industry, having held very senior positions at leading international companies but working extensively across this region.
“So to attract someone of that experience and calibre who also has an intimate knowledge of the company, its activities as well as everything it stands for in terms of ethos and community, is fantastic for the business.
“She literally grew up in the Deeley Group and that makes her unique.”
A new £3.9 million development of affordable homes, which will serve the community in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, is underway.
The Deeley Group, in partnership with Waterloo Housing Group, Rugby Borough Council and Homes England, is creating 21 affordable homes on a brownfield site in the village.
The development, which is situated off High Street in Ryton, was formerly a coal yard but will now be put to use as vital new homes.
The properties will be a mix of two and three-bedroom units with some available under shared ownership while others will be offered on an affordable rent basis.
Deeley Construction has started working on site and the development is set for practical completion in spring 2020, with the homes themselves constructed using an off-site manufactured timber-frame system.
Peter Deeley, managing director of the Deeley Group, said: “We are very pleased to be working with such great partners in delivering much-needed affordable homes for the area.
“We are bringing into use a brownfield site and giving it new purpose as homes for the local community. It is a great example of how we can identify a site, work with partners to develop a scheme that’s right for the area, and then, through our construction division, deliver the development.
“This is an area of the market we know very well, having created several schemes of affordable homes over recent years, and we know just what it means to the people who will build their lives in these homes.”
Neil Adie, Development Director (East) for Waterloo Housing Group, said: “Waterloo Housing Group is pleased to be working in partnership with Rugby Borough Council, Homes England and Deeley Group to provide much need affordable rented housing for local people and to help others into home ownership through the shared ownership initiative.”
Cllr Emma Crane, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for communities and homes, said: “Working with our partners, we aim to increase both the number and choice of properties available in the borough while supporting sustainable development.
“The development of the Old Coal Yard in Ryton-on-Dunsmore supports this vision, bringing a brownfield site back into use by building a range of affordable new homes for rent and shared ownership.”
Pictured: Andy Bodily (Deeley Construction Contracts Manager), Beth Carss (Waterloo Housing Group Project Manager), Judith Wise (Waterloo Housing Group Area Development Manager), Eamonn Gorman (Deeley Construction Site Manager).