The chief executive of one of Cumbria's biggest firms has revealed its huge turnover but says it just scratches the surface of its future plans.
Steve Errington, chief executive of Story Homes – partners of Choose South Cumbria – said he believed that the firm is set to be one of the country's biggest firms in the next ten years.
Mr Errington – who took over from the firm’s legendary founder, Fred Story – revealed the national ambitions speaking to inTheBay/in-Cumbria as part of the ‘ten minutes with’ series of interviews.
Plans for 2016
“We’ve got a lot of exciting things ahead of us this year, we’ve grown substantially since 2010, and while our year end is in March we’re on target for 565 completions in the year and a turnover of £123 million.
“Next year, we hope to have up to 720 completions which should add another £40 to 45 million to our turnover, which represents a growth of 40 per cent year on year.
“We plan to continue growing our business by 40 percent year on year, which was spurred on by improvements in the planning system, though there are a few obstacles to getting onto a site.”
Story Homes’ national ambitions
“We see key market opportunities, we have a premium value product, which has better specifications that the market and the sales reflect this.
“We aim to be one of the top 20 national housebuilders in the next two years, in the top fifteen in four to five and in the top 10 in the next five to ten.
“There are only a handful of truly national businesses, Bellway, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon, but a lot of bigger businesses have a strong geographical link, they’re national in terms of their turnover and size but geographical in reality.
“We aim to stand alongside the national firms, we’re going to keep growing the business.”
Challenges to the industry
“There are still two major challenges to the business, the first of which is getting to a point where we get our spades into the ground.
“We have found that once we’ve got planning permission, we can’t start on site quickly enough, once we’ve got planning permission, we need to wait to get permission to access the site which can come from different agencies who will need to use the site such as United Utilities.”
“The other issue is skills, there’s a real challenge in finding the right staff and subcontractors, and these can be bricklayers, roofers, tilers and plumbers.
“There’s a lot of pressure getting the quality resources we need to build homes, from new starters to subcontractors, and help us grow."
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