Applethwaite's The Royal

Maple Grove acquires Robert Hughes

Rachael Tinniswood

Maple Grove Developments, the company behind Daresbury Park office scheme and the preferred development partner for the regeneration of Blackburn's Cathedral Quarter, has merged with Cumbrian residential developer Robert Hughes, its partner in the joint venture Applethwaite.

Robert Hughes, which specialises in luxury homes, has sold all of its issued share capital to Maple Grove, and has become part of its parent organisation the Eric Wright Group, expanding the group's current development function within Maple Grove to include a residential division. That division will continue to work on developments under the Applethwaite name.

Maple Grove launched Applethwaite, a JV with Robert Hughes, three years ago, through which it has since delivered luxury apartments The Ferry House on Lake Windermere, and The Royal, a mixed retail and residential scheme in the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere.

Projects transferred from Robert Hughes' current portfolio, will include Birthwaite Edge – seven luxury apartments in Windermere, and Sunny Mill, a 5,000 sq ft house currently under construction on a two-acre plot next door.

Jim Carter, chief executive of the Eric Wright Group said: "Though there is a great deal of negative talk about the residential market at present, for a company with a solid financial footing like the Eric Wright Group, it is a great time to invest and actively pursue new opportunities.

"However although we've worked on mixed-use regeneration projects which incorporate a residential element for several years, we're not naïve enough to think that we can move more firmly into the residential sector without bringing the necessary experience and expertise in-house.

"Robert Hughes has not only worked to a highly successful formula for many years, which will provide us with specific project management skills and deliver opportunities that we might not otherwise be able to pursue. Our work with Applethwaite has cemented our relationship and it's a natural step for us to merge the two companies in order to bring something very special to the market."

Robert Hughes will join the board of the new residential division as an executive director. He added: "Though the Robert Hughes team will continue to be based at our Windermere offices, it will be immediately brought in to work on Maple Grove's schemes in Ripon and Blackburn Cathedral Quarter and will become very much an integral part of the Eric Wright Group."

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