Countryside Properties

Countryside Properties
Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd
Type Private
Industry Housebuilding
Founded 1958
Headquarters Brentwood, Essex, England, UK
Key people Graham Cherry Chief Executive, Richard Cherry Deputy Chairman
Revenue £151.3 million (2009)
Operating income £15.2 million loss (2009)
Net income £44.0 million loss (2009)
Employees 811 (2008)

Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd is a property development company based in the United Kingdom. It is active in urban regeneration and creation of sustainable communities.[1] It also carries out Design and Build contracts for housing associations.[2]

Its headquarters are in Brentwood, Essex. The largest concentration of its activity is in London and the Thames Gateway, but it also has divisions working in the South East, East and North West of England.[2]



The housebuilding business that became Countryside Properties was founded by Alan Cherry, CBE, who remained its Chairman until his death in January 2010.[3] His eldest son, Graham Cherry was appointed to the board in 1984 and has been Chief Executive since 1996.[2] His youngest son, Richard Cherry was appointed to the board in 1986 and was appointed Deputy Chairman in 2005.

Alan Cherry, a chartered surveyor, began his career as an estate agent and was one of the founding partners of Bairstow Eves. In 1959, the four Bairstow partners formed Copthorn as a development business, with Alan Cherry running it part time. One of the Bairstow clients was another developer, Countryside Properties, formed in 1958 by Solomon 'Bob' Bobroff, and in the late 1960s the two concerns began to work together.[4] In 1971 Countryside acquired Copthorn and, with Bobroff as Chairman and Alan Cherry as a joint managing director, Countryside was floated on the London Stock Exchange.[5]

The flotation was closely followed by recession and in 1975 Countryside passed its final dividend. Bobroff had resigned in 1974, and the subsequent expansion was under the sole direction of Alan Cherry. He emphasised the importance of design and marketing and took the Company into a series of very large sites, e.g. Chelmer Village and Chatham Maritime.[4]

In 2005, Alan Cherry sought to take the company private. A prominent investor, Paul Kemsley and Joe Lewis's Rock Properties, increased its stake to 28.5%, forcing Cherry to pay more for the company.[6] Countryside was bought out by Copthorn Holdings Ltd, which is now jointly owned by the Cherry family and the Bank of Scotland, part of Lloyds Banking Group.[1]

The company achieved record profits in the following two years, amounting to £27 million on a turnover of £430 million in the year ended September 2007.[2]

However, the late-2000s financial crisis affected housebuilders acutely, and the company recorded a loss of £22 million on sales of £312 million in the year to September 2008. Its parent company Copthorn Holdings recorded a loss of £82 million for the year. Both companies published their accounts past the statutory deadline, after securing a refinancing deal in October 2009.[7] Countryside's September 2009 results, filed in February 2010, showed turnover halved to £151 million and loss for the year doubled at £44 million. However, Countryside said the refinancing restored the company to a positive position and secured facilities for its development programme.[7]

Examples of work

New developments

Great Notley Garden Village is an extension to the town of Braintree, Essex, built over a decade starting in 1993. As well as almost 2,000 homes in three separate 'hamlets', it has a primary school, church, community centre, doctors' surgery, supermarket, chip shop and village green.[8] The Village is cited as an example of Countryside’s design philosophy of 'maturity' and 'community'.[8]

Urban regeneration

Greenwich Millennium Village Limited, a joint venture between Countryside and Taylor Wimpey, won a government-initiated competition in February 1998 to transform the former site of Europe's largest gas works into a sustainable new community. It is one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe.[9] The Village won a sustainability award at the RIBA Housing Design Awards and a Civic Trust Award in 2004.[10] 1,095 homes had been completed by 2008, and further phases are planned.[9]

In 2008, Guinness Trust chose Countryside in 2008 as contractor for regeneration of the Loughborough Park Estate in Brixton, south London. The project includes replacing 390 homes built in the 1930s with 530 new homes and community facilities.[11]


The company has won many awards. In 2008 its Accordia development in Cambridge was the first housing scheme to win the RIBA Stirling Prize for architecture.[12] The same project had previously been the Overall Winner & Medium Housebuilder Winner of the RIBA Housing Design Award 2006,[13] repeating the awards which the company had won in 2004[14] and 2005.[15]


  1. ^ a b About us: Who we are on official website
  2. ^ a b c d Countryside Properties enjoys record £27m profit, Contract Journal, 14 Feb 2008. Accessed 5 June 2009.[dead link]
  3. ^ Countryside chair Alan Cherry dies, Inside Housing, 25 Jan 2010
  4. ^ a b Wellings, Fred. Dictionary of British Housebuilders (2006), Troubador. ISBN 978-0-9552965-0-5.
  5. ^ History on official website
  6. ^ "Tottenham Hotspur man becomes a player in online games". London: The Sunday Times. 5 Dec 2005. Retrieved 5 Jun 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Twickenham Riverside campaigners' pledge, Richmond and Twickenham Times, 29 October 2009. Retrieved 6 Nov 2009
  8. ^ a b Daisy Froud, Countryside Properties and the Shape of Time, University of London, 2002. Reprinted in Home Cultures Journal, 2004. Illustrated academic review of Great Notley Garden Village and Beaulieu Park, Chelmsford.
  9. ^ a b Greenwich Millennium Village, London at English Partnerships website (2008)
  10. ^ Greenwich Millennium Village at CABE website
  11. ^ Countryside wins £105m Lambeth regeneration scheme, Contract Journal, 22 Oct 2008
  12. ^ Tom Dyckhoff, Stirling Prize 2008 winner: Accordia housing development, Cambridge, 14 October 2008, The Times
  13. ^ Accordia, Cambridge, RIBA Housing Design Awards 2006
  14. ^ RIBA Housing Design Awards 2004
  15. ^ Bennet’s Courtyard, London, SW19, RIBA Housing Design Awards 2005

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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