Countryside Properties is to concentrate resources on its residential schemes because of a slowdown in the commercial sector.
Operating profit in business developments fell from £4.7m to £400,000 last year.

Chairman Alan Cherry revealed the change in focus as the company announced that pre-tax profit rose 23% from £24.8m to £30.4m in the year to 30 September.

He said: "Trading in the second half was affected by the increased caution of occupiers and investors in committing themselves to the leasing and purchase of commercial property."

Housebuilding was the group's most successful division, with a 49% rise in profit.

Cherry said demand for housing was likely to remain strong. He said: "In the longer term, today's serious undersupply of new housing is set to worsen."