Cheshire contractor Pochin has set up a brownfield housing arm called Pochin Homes.
Group chairman Nicholas Pochin said progress had been made by a joint venture with Bushwing, a company that specialises in the regeneration of brownfield sites for retail, commercial and housing developments.

He said: "Pochin Homes will take advantage of this by building and marketing new homes in the region on selected sites."

The expansion into the housing sector comes as the group doubled turnover from £17m to £34m. However, this figure takes into account the sale of a development property in Bolton, Greater Manchester, for £5.4m. Group profit rose to £1.25m in the six months to 30 November 2002 from £1.24m the previous year.

Pochin said the rise in turnover reflected higher activity. He said: "Contracting, having started off in the same negative vein as last year, ended with a return to positive contributions to group profits."