Hale, Bowdon and Altrincham are hotspots for prime residential development but developers need to be wary of pricing people out of the area, writes Steve Slater of Real Estate Investment Partnerships.
The towns of Hale, Bowdon and Altrincham have much to offer those looking for luxury living in the leafy suburbs of Manchester, yet there are some sticking points in my experience of delivering homes in this prestigious WA14 postcode.
REIP builds a variety of apartments and houses to appeal to people at all stages of their lives and we’re specialising in building in the area we know well. Yet, acquiring the land for development is not always easy, even though we’ve repeatedly shown that whatever we’ve built has sold well afterwards.
Take our Alderbank development in Altrincham, for example. Still under construction, the popularity of the 34 apartments, of which 23 are sold, and six mews houses, all of which are sold, tells us that there is a massive market for a well-designed home, for the right price, in the area. We heard this week that our Highbank scheme at Greenwalk has been shortlisted in the International Design and Architecture Awards 2019 and our Bowhill Place development on Altrincham’s South Downs Road is progressing well.
Despite the attractiveness of developments such as these with first-time buyers and those who are downsizing, land prices can be quite restrictive, meaning it’s often more economical to build larger properties to justify the cost. The knock-on effect of that can mean that people are priced out of the area, which is a great shame. If I could build an Alderbank every year, which is a high-quality, well-designed complex, then I’d be more than happy to do so.
Another stumbling block can be the reluctance of council planners to allow these types of development, particularly in places like Bowdon. As a conservation area, it is difficult to get plans through that exchange one existing home for a development which will deliver several new ones, and that can have a negative effect on development.
Whilst I fully understand why these measures are in place, they can have a detrimental effect on the evolution of the area. What we’ve delivered at Alderbank has probably helped others realise that Hale, Bowdon and Altrincham offer even more opportunities than they already thought.
There may, too, be opportunities in the centre of Altrincham, where empty shops could open up the possibility of offering town centre living, which is something we’re interested in.
Hale, Bowdon and Altrincham are close to my heart, which is why we’re looking at what more we can do to give something back to the area. We were the first corporate sponsor of Altrincham in Bloom and we’re considering ways we can help disadvantaged people.
I believe that it is our duty, as a developer, to immerse ourselves in the areas in which we operate and we passionately believe we have much more to offer as we start to bring more new developments forward in WA14.