Falling market blamed for Countryside’s regional job losses

Up to 30 staff could lose their jobs at housebuilder Countryside Properties' northern headquarters in Warrington due to the "significant downturn in the housing market in the region".

Staff were told last week of the cost-cutting move which follows poor sales in quarter one of 2008. Countryside is among the biggest residential developers in the region with a dozen schemes across the patch from HQ in St Helens and Lune Mill in Lancaster to Mann Island in Liverpool, recently pre-sold to Dylan Harvey for £70m.

The company declined to give details of recent sales or comment on any possible impact to the development pipeline.

Countryside confirmed the redundancies in a statement: "It is with regret that we confirm that Countryside Properties (Northern) Ltd is having to consider redundancies and is currently consulting with staff affected. The proposals could affect around 10% of the 300 staff working within the regional company. This is a necessary response to a significant downturn in the housing market in the region that has led to a slowing down of the development programme and a review of the company's business in line with the changing market conditions.

"The decision to enter into consultation was taken as a last resort and with great sadness given the company's proven commitment to its staff. Countryside Properties prides itself on its retention of staff across the company and the development of long-term careers for its people.

"However the regional market conditions are particularly severe in the aftermath of the credit 'crunch' and the subsequent decline in the housing market and in response it would have been irresponsible not to have reduced the cost base of the company in this way."

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