Chestnut Morgan

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Chestnut Morgan's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Chestnut Morgan is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

CEO David James Morgan
Pochard Fishing Lodge
Chestnut Morgan is a property development and contract
management start-up based in Leighton Buzzard,
Buckinghamshire. Founded in 2015 by CEO David
Morgan, it won an award for the best small commercial
development after completing its first project at the Pochard
Fishing Lodge. This was quite an achievement and really helped
to launch the business with immediate recognition for the
quality of its work. David tells
The Parliamentary Review
With a wealth of knowledge in the sector, having been in the building industry
for most of my working career, I take a very hands-on approach to the day-to-day
work of the business. I try to carefully envision each project, considering the end
result before starting any work. This gives an extra dimension to the service that
is offered as we refuse to simply follow a plan that isn’t working because certain
aspects of the project haven’t been considered.
I am very much involved from the beginning to the end of each project and I will
personally spend time with the client and project site manager. We also place a
significant emphasis upon sourcing the best materials and ensuring that they fit
with the customer’s requirement. Understanding the client, their needs and their
final vision is of the utmost importance to us, a set of values that gives us the edge
over our competitors. This a key factor behind our recent projected turnover figures
for 2019 reaching £1 million.
»CEO: David James Morgan
»Director: Nadine Morgan
»Founded in 2015
»Located in Corner Croft,
»Services: Property development
and contract management
»No. of employees: two
full-time and 20 regular
»Winner of the 2017 LABC
award for Best Small
Commercial Building
Chestnut Morgan
Highlighting best practice
Flexible skills, suited to each
Other than our director, Nadine
Morgan, we do not employ any
full-time members of staff, instead
working with 20 trusted self-employed
subcontractors with whom we have
developed a professional relationship
over the past four years. Because
of the complexity of each build,
renovation or conversion, we have to
adapt accordingly. Therefore, we will
employ or instruct the relevant skilled
labour that suits the particular job
We work on a range of sensitive
projects including the restoration of
listed buildings, for example. This type
of project requires a certain skill-set,
whereby staff are required to be
sympathetic to the building and ensure
the correct use of suitable materials.
In this scenario, it suits us to rely on
skilled contractors on a part-time basis,
rather than re-training full-time staff.
As a company that is relatively new to
the sector, we have been keen to work
on a wide range of projects. Our day-
to-day responsibilities include:
»Project planning
»Programming schedule of works
»Liaising with customers, architects
and surveyors
»Liaising with site managers and
contractors, structural engineers,
specialist material suppliers, specialist
contractors, local authorities and
utility providers
»Involvement in the design and build
»Purchasing and scheduling labour.
Culture and values
Attention to detail is at the centre of
our business. We deal with high-end,
custom-designed projects where it
is vital that we go the extra mile for
the customer and fit their designs to
exacting specifications. We aim to
provide the best service and quality
possible and encourage a sense of
team spirit through co-operation and
taking pride in our work.
We are supportive of the personal
progression of our staff and we believe
in giving people the opportunity to
prove themselves. Initially, we offer
them guidance and offer courses to
promote their level of understanding.
This helps to build a better team,
which in turn provides a better service.
The company has grown a lot over
the past few years and it has been a
real learning curve getting to grips
with the daily operations in terms of
understanding welfare and insurance
while also providing a service that
follows our vision. Initially, becoming
established had been our primary
aim, but we have already been
successful in running up to four jobs
at once. Therefore, we are looking
to expand quickly, building on our
We are currently involved in a barn
conversion equating to £650,000
worth of work, while tendering
Historic and listed
We work on a
range of
including the
restoration of
buildings, for
for new work all the time. This
potentially includes projects such
as a £600,000 modern barn with a
glass link to a Grade II listed building
and a wrap-around extension to a
Victorian home. Other specialist works
include a basement conversion and
waterproofing project.
Competing and expanding
Competing with organisations that
don’t charge VAT can be challenging
and it makes it difficult to win the job
in the first place; in addition, we have
put work into planning projects that
don’t come to fruition. Dealing with
people can be another big challenge,
as they often change their minds. This
is understandable, since ideas can
evolve over the course of a build.
Materials arriving late and the weather
have proved to be unexpected
challenges, while finding skilled people
who can offer the service that we want
to provide is an issue affecting the
entire sector. Investors are also holding
back at the moment because of
Brexit and have resisted commencing
projects until they see how they will
be affected. Brexit may also impact
material prices, which will in turn
influence the pricing of each job and
the customer’s ability to afford a build
that follows their vision.
CIS payments for the tax office have
also had a significant impact on time
spent sorting. Government websites
are not simple and can be very difficult
to understand, which therefore slows
down the process. Pensions are
another consideration that prevents
us from taking on full-time staff and
present an issue that we will have to
tackle in the future.
Despite these challenges, we are
looking to grow the company and
get it to the point that I can take a
step back and oversee the projects. I
want to continue offering guidance
but would like to cut back my day-
to-day involvement. This will only be
possible if we can find high-quality
staff that also match our vision for
the organisation. Finally, we would
like to expand into several divisions,
with high-end barn conversions, new
builds, listed building restorations and
contemporary builds all forming part of
our future repertoire.
Attention to
detail is at the
centre of our
business. We
deal with
projects where
it is vital that
we go the
extra mile for
the customer
and fit their
designs to
Bespoke barn conversion

This article was sponsored by Chestnut Morgan. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster