Weston Homes

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Weston Homes'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 Weston Homes 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


Chairman and Managing
Director Bob Weston
Precision, Greenwich
Chairman and Managing Director Bob Weston founded
Weston Homes in 1987. The residential property developer
then expanded to become a group, now encompassing
Stansted Environmental Services, or SES, Weston Logistics and
Weston Business Centres. Weston Homes, however, remains
the main focus of the business, operating across the South East
of England to deliver, as Bob says, real homes for real people.
In 2019 so far, Bob and his team have delivered around 1,000
homes, but this number is set to increase.
We operate to the south and east coasts of England, and towards the M4 in the
west; it’s almost exclusively brownfield regeneration. Although this year we’ve
delivered around 1,000 homes, we have a forward growth plan to annually develop
and sell 2,500 – with a total of 7,500 currently in process.
Stansted Environmental Services Ltd
SES is a standalone company owned by the Weston Group, providing a service for
developers and architects from concept to completion.
SES has the capability of drilling to considerable depths to enable comprehensive
geotechnical and contamination investigations, resulting in technical reports that
identify remediation solutions for reusing brownfield land.
It also provides energy and sustainability assessments, to minimise energy loss
and energy consumption, modelling the best sustainable solutions for new
dwellings.SES is accredited with UKAS for sound insulation testing and with
»Chairman and Managing
Director: Bob Weston
»Established in 1987
»Based in Takeley, Essex
»Services: Residential property
»Other arms of Weston
Group includes Stansted
Environmental Services,
which provides services for
developers and architects,
Weston Logistics, which
provides manufacturing,
distribution and plant hire
services, and Weston Business
Centres, which operates two
business centres with a view
to a third
»Weston Homes are set to
annually develop and sell
2,500 homes a year
Weston Homes
Highlighting best practice
ATTMA for air tightness testing,
providing developers with reliable
results and enabling them to meet
their obligations contained within the
Building Regulations.
In addition to the above, it provides
health and safety consultancy and
training, primarily for those within the
construction industry.
Weston Logistics
Weston Logistics also has a variety
of different functions. The first of
these is an off-site manufacturing
plant where we design and create
elements that go into our properties,
including bathrooms and a variety of
We also have a distribution
business – and have just opened a
75,000-square foot distribution centre
in Braintree, Essex – which brings
materials from single-source suppliers
in before sending them out to our
Finally, Weston Logistics also covers
plant hire from another location in
Takeley. This includes cranes, forklifts
and various other items of construction
plant that help to feed our business.
Weston Business Centres
Weston Business Centres operates
two separate business centres – one in
Takeley and one in Colchester.
These properties, of 50,000 and
30,000 square feet respectively, are
entirely serviced offices. Through this
arm we are also currently working on
a 10,000-square foot serviced office
Dartford development
Our work in Dartford, Kent, is an
excellent example of Weston Homes’
high-density urban regeneration work.
In the town centre, opposite the
station, we are building 738 units.
We are two and a half years into
this process, with another year of
construction underway, and all bar one
plot have been sold. Around half the
site is currently occupied.
The development is a great reflection
of our ethos – real homes for real
people at affordable pricing – and is
located along transport nodes. It has
been built sustainably and homes are
offered at a reasonable price.
Left: Eastfields,
Right: Langley Square,
Although this
year we’ve
around 1,000
homes, we
have a forward
growth plan to
develop and
sell 2,500 –
with a total of
7,500 currently
in process
Over 1,000 new homes in
In partnership with the London Borough
of Barking, we will begin construction
in January on 1,100 newhomes.
This is an exciting four to five-year build
programme where we are creating a
sustainable community along the River
Roding. Not only does it include 1,100
homes, but there is also a gastropub,
food outlets and a gymnastics centre,
as well as a logistical “hub building”
which will allow people to live the life
This development, which will bring
4,000 to 5,000 people to this corner of
Barking, is just one of a number of what
we call “super-sites” – developments of
over 1,000 residentialhomes.
The planning system and tax
Property developers complain about
planning – that’s natural. Before
anything else, however, let me say that I
don’t think the system in itself isbroken.
My problem lies with the length of
time it takes to obtain permission and
how the decision is arrived at – it’s the
process. I’m not complaining about it
because I don’t get the permissions I
need; my issue is that the process may
take two years longer than it needs
to. This has an impact on cost and
In my time in the industry, over 40
years, government have given us the
same cliché over and over. It’s “fixing
the broken planning system”. No
matter how much they state they will
help it, the red tape just seems to get
longer and wider.
I don’t know if government are in
a position to do anything about it.
Idon’t imagine they’re likely to, if I’m
being honest – it doesn’t win that
many votes.
It would be good if planning could
take a higher priority in politics for the
years to come. The economic gains it
would provide to the country would be
substantial, but it’s just not that high
up the list.
Beyond that, there is some concern
from the sector regarding tax levels.
Central and local government alike
need to remain cautious about raising
them – not wanting to kill the goose
that lays the golden egg, so to speak.
The future for Weston Group
We’re currently two years into a ten-
year plan. Brexit and the uncertainty
surrounding it have delayed us by
a year or so – we set it in process
back in 2016 – but, equally, I don’t
anticipate it’ll fundamentally change it
Our focus for now is still growing
the business; that hasn’t changed.
Between Weston Logistics and Weston
Business Centres, we’ve opened a new
distribution centre and office building
at considerable expense, proving that
we’re not allowing short-term affairs
to control our long-term plans. For
now, it’s simply two things: increase
the output of the business and keep
doing what we do.
Increase the
output of the
business and
keep doing
what we do
CGI of Abbey Quay,


This article was sponsored by Weston Homes. 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