A new canal-side office and virtual reality suite could replace the former Hoghton pub Grill and Grain after a fire ravaged the premises five years ago.Advertisement
Kingswood Homes has acquired the former Grill and Grain, at the Boatyard near Hoghton, from Thwaites Brewery after the premises was engulfed in flames in April 2017, with firefighters pumping water from the Leeds and Liverpool canal to fight the flames.
The homebuilder has submitted plans to demolish what remains of the fire-damaged building and replace it with a new two-storey office.
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Paul Jones, managing director of Kingswood Homes, said: “While other businesses are closing offices or at least downsizing, it’s important for our business that we have space where our staff can collaborate as a team.
“We’re happy for people to work from home, in the offices of our development sites or at our headquarters.
“Moving to the new office will enable us to accommodate our growing workforce in support of our growth plans offering somewhere where the different parts of the business can share ideas.”
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Subject to planning, the new home will offer 12,000 sq ft, including the original annexe, later used as a design studio.
During the last 12 months, Kingswood welcomed new starters and set up an engineering department, with the business now employing 42 people.
Jones said: “We didn’t want to take on the lease of a bland business park building – we wanted a new headquarters that represents, encapsulates and celebrates our core values.
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“The location of the former Grill and Grain is perfect for us as we have several sites within easy reach, so we’ll also be able to use the new office as a central hub to support the customer journey.”
In the next financial year (April 2022 – March 2023), the firm will build over 150 homes, targeting a turnover of £40m.
As part of its continued growth plan, the business aims to increase its output to 250 homes within the next few years.
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Kingswood will move into the new office in 2024, with the current base in Little Hoole released for sale in mid-2023.
Parking will be provided and integrated with a landscaping scheme to soften the development and enhance the appearance, with additional car parking provided for the marina adjacent to the site.
The new office will enjoy views across the Leeds-Liverpool Canal to Hoghton.
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There will be a communal meeting area and private pods for staff to work from, plus a virtual reality suite that homebuyers can visit by appointment to experience the layout of the homes using the latest VR technology.
Kingswood Homes is currently building at Green Hills in Feniscowles and The Hawthorns in Elswick, Lancashire, and The Market Quarter in Hatherleigh, Devon.
The company also has plans for 79 new homes in the Lancashire village of Hoddlesden.
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In the 12 months to March 2021, the end of the last financial year, the business more than doubled the number of homes built a year – increasing from 36 homes in 2020 to 77 in 2021, with a further 50 per cent increase projected in the current financial year.
Turnover rose by almost 50 per cent from £18m in 2020 to £23m in 2021, with around £34m forecast for the current financial year.
The SME homebuilder has also gifted a Green Hills property to Derian House Children’s Hospice for the Great Big House Giveaway.
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