Harry J Palmer Holdings Ltd

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Harry J Palmer Holdings Ltd'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 Harry J Palmer Holdings Ltd 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


Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
Directors Colin and May Palmer
A Harry J Palmer property in
Iwerne Minster, north Dorset
May Palmer is managing director of Harry J Palmer, a
family-run housebuilder that operates in the Dorset
area. With more than 80 years’ experience delivering
projects to the community, the firm is described by May – who
is Harry’s granddaughter – as “the wise choice”. She tells
TheParliamentary Review
that the company focuses on building
high-quality, traditionally-styled homes and that it continues to
uphold the reputable family name by ensuring high standards
Established in 1938, we are a third-generation housebuilder, operating primarily
within Dorset. Today, I work as managing director of the company, which was
started by my grandfather, Harry J Palmer. I am the third generation of my family
to do so, taking on the role from my dad, Colin. My career with the family firm
originally started when I was in my teens, when I cleaned new houses before the
owners moved in.
Over the years, we have taken on many projects in a range of sectors, but it’s
housebuilding which we always return to and which is the foundation of our
business model. With 2,500 homes under our belt, it’s unsurprisingly what we are
good at. I think this is down in no small part to the strong links we have developed
with local subcontractors and companies.
The family tradition
My move to the family company really came out of the blue after gaining a BSc
in Property Management and an MSc in Property Investment. Before my father
»Directors: Colin and May
»Established in 1938
»Based in Wimborne Minster,
»Services: Housebuilder and
»No. of employees: 12
»Member of the Considerate
Constructors Scheme
Harry J Palmer
Holdings Ltd
approached me with the idea in
2000, I worked in the commercial
property market in Bristol. I haven’t
Brought up in the environment of the
family business, I was keen to keep
the imprint of past generations within
the culture of the company. However,
I am also a realist and know we must
embrace new technologies, methods
and legislation.
Based in the Dorset market town
of Wimborne Minster, we recently
relocated from a traditional builders’
yard to a prominent Georgian office
property in the town’s square. Typically
for a builder, the move was prompted
by the securing of planning permission
for a mixed residential/commercial
scheme on the former office and
yard, which will be commenced in
the latter part of next year. The new
office location provides a high-profile
location for the business.
At heart, the company works on its
own successful developments for
direct sale to the market, but we also
tender for contracting work when the
opportunity arises, or the market might
dictate the move to be shrewd.
Whole team involvement
Throughout my 20 years with the
company, I have been surrounded by
a passionate and forward-thinking
team – a new family to the company.
Working in an open-plan atmosphere,
a world away from the individual
offices and closed doors of my
father’s and grandfather’s times, I
encourage a collective approach to the
By listening to staff and involving them
in the decisions and pathways of the
business, be it the commencement of
a project or a discussion over choice of
materials or plant, we are supported
to make better decisions, based on
the expertise my team have built up
over the years. My team, our wider
contractors and our clients really are
the company’s best assets.
Going above and beyond
We strive to provide a service to our
clients and home purchasers which is
beyond that of the local competition.
In simple terms, this is about providing
transparent communication and
information sharing. We work
closely with clients to ensure that Harry J Palmer (third
from left) proudly
demonstrating the use
of his citizens band radio
I have been
surrounded by
a passionate
and forward-
thinking team
Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
our service is constantly above
House purchasers are our ultimate
clients, and we will provide an
exhaustive information base
concerning their properties at the
initial handover. In reality, this is a
“Home User Guide” of information,
from how to run the boiler to what
colour and brand of paint has been
applied to thewalls.
Every one of our homes is covered by
a warranty from NHBC, with whom
we have been working since their
inception in the 1930s as the National
House Builders Registration Council.
Harry J Palmer himself recognised
membership to be an important
voluntary venture into self-regulation
by the industry – a response to
poor building practices in the inter-
After 81 years in business, we have
amassed quite a considerable bank of
land, which we continue to promote
for housing use. Beyond this, we are
always keen to take on contracting
work. Our position as a privately held,
financially sound housebuilder makes
us the ideal choice for partnering
with, and I am in constant contact
with local partners to identify sites to
At present, we are building 16 two
and three-bedroomed homes in
Henstridge, south Somerset, on behalf
of LiveWest Housing Association,
making a vital contribution to their
commitment to build 400 new homes
in rural areas across the South West
over the next two years.
We will be partnering with LiveWest
into next year also, with the
construction of ten new dwellings in
west Dorset. Further projects in the
pipeline include a development of 37
homes in Corfe Mullen, east Dorset.
Ensuring a stable future
With over 2,500 new builds under
our belt, I am enthusiastic for the
future. In a period of political and
market uncertainty, the company
remains under constant pressure to
retain its high level of build quality in
an environment where the national
housebuilders, with economies of
purchase power and labour resources,
are enjoying the fatter profits which
the industry is renowned for.
Retaining our high standards of build
and continuing to meet the targets
for building to zero-carbon standard
is the most obvious challenge that
we face at present, together with the
uncertainty over the procurement of
materials and their cost when Brexit
Overall, the company is on a fantastic
footing. Our core business will always
be housebuilding; however, with our
skilled team in place, we will continue
to look at opportunities to work with
our partners in delivering housing to
meet general housing needs. With
the fourth generation of Palmers still
only in single digits, this continued
investment should help secure the
business for them.
In a period of
political and
the company
remains under
pressure to
retain its high
level of build
The interior of a Harry J
Palmer-built property


This article was sponsored by Harry J Palmer Holdings Ltd. 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 Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development