Challenger homes firm sees room in the market for a new kind of housebuilder

February 15, 2019

Independent design-led housebuilder Backhouse has sold the first homes at its landmark residential development in Somerset as it looks to shake up the market and create vibrant communities.


Box-based Backhouse was founded in 2016 by former City investment banker Theodore Backhouse and ex-Devonshire Homes MD Steve Russell with a mission to develop aspirational and affordable properties of outstanding design quality. 

It has ambitious plans to develop 500 homes a year by 2022, which has been made possible following a £50m investment from alternative asset management firm Cheyne Capital.

The first house sales have come on its Lovel’s Farm site in Castle Cary – a development of 74 distinctive homes designed by Stirling Prize-winning architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), which has offices in Bristol, London and Oklahoma.


Backhouse is also developing sites in Westbury and Calne in Wiltshire and is on a major land-buying programme across the West Country and M4 corridor. While initially concentrating on the South West it has ambitions to develop similar sites across the UK.


Although the show home at Lovel’s Farm has just opened, there have been nine off-plan reservations already – with the first buyers due to move in over the next month.


Theo Backhouse said: “Making our first sales is a big step in the evolution of the company.


“The support we’ve found in this region – from the town and parish councils to the subcontractors we are working with and our first customers – has been fantastic and has given the business a strong base to grow from.


“One of our founding principles is that housebuilding in the UK can be done better and we are now committed to finding the best land for developing in our region and beyond.


“We aim to use the best design talent in Britain to deliver new homes and places where people and communities can flourish.”


He said the firm’s homes were different to others on the market as their design focused on creating abundant natural light and flexible living spaces and are developed around shared open spaces to foster a sense of community.


AHMM director Simon Allford added: “In 2016 Backhouse invited us to take a fresh look at housebuilding.


“Backhouse is a new company with the stated ambition to build better homes and places. Together we share the ambition to create high-quality, generously sized, contemporary homes with community at their heart.  


“At Lovel’s Farm we have now built our first new residential quarter within easy reach of both the centre of Castle Cary and its mainline station and offering easy access to the beautiful countryside.


“Working with the Backhouse team has proved a truly enjoyable collaboration, their openness and enthusiasm for design clearly invested in delivering this unique and exceptional development.”


Pictured above: One of Backhouse’s Castle Cary homes. Below, from left: Backhouse head of operations Kevin Moore, founder Theo Backhouse and managing director Steve Russell

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