Traditional greenfield housebuilder to specialise in public sector brownfield projects

Barratt, the housebuilder synonymous with affordable greenfield development, is planning to “put itself on the regeneration map” by targeting tough public sector brownfield sites in the North and Midlands.

A former Barratt insider said the success of brownfield projects undertaken by the firm’s east London division, now one of its biggest, and work by companies such as Urban Splash in northern city centres, has prompted the rethink.

Stephen Kinsella, Barratt’s deputy director of the operation, said: “The big opportunities are now coming forward from the public sector and this is what Barratt needs to be doing. We are putting Barratt on the regeneration map in a way it wasn’t before.”

Barratt’s growing interest in public sector regeneration is part of a drive to meet a production target of 22,000 homes a year that it set itself after taking over David Wilson Homes.

The company’s appetite has been whetted by a number of big wins. It was appointed Manchester council’s preferred developer in the West Gorton area of the city.

We are putting Barratt on the regeneration map in a way it wasn’t

Stephen Kinsella, Barratt

It also secured a 750-home English Partnerships scheme at Nuneaton in Warwickshire last month and is on the verge of announcing that it has landed another big prize in the West Midlands.

These projects are being undertaken by its regeneration arm in a joint venture with Artisan, a Manchester regeneration developer, for two years. Kinsella said that although Barratt would continue to work with Artisan it was also competing on its own.

He said the regeneration operation was delivering sites for Barratt’s divisions rather than developing them itself.

The arm is headed by John Williamson, former development director of Liverpool Housing Action Trust.