Protecting the Terroir – whilst Delivering Rural Homes

Visiting rural development sites

Armed with my BLG hard hat, last week I visited several rural development sites in Yorkshire.  It was good to spend time talking with the developers and construction specialists who are the lifeblood of the home building industry.

It was also good to get out into the countryside, whilst I have made my home in London and spent the bulk of my business career in the City’s finance industry, I was brought up in the countryside. My Grandfather was a fruit farmer – mostly apples – they say ‘you can take the boy out of the country but can’t take the country out of the boy!’

As we all know, like most parts of the British Isles, the countryside is in the grip of a housing crisis.  Perhaps the countryside poses different challenges than the housing issues suffered in our towns and cities, but it is no less devastating for those who cannot find or afford a home. Rural wages tend to lag behind urban salaries and often affordability is a problem.

We need to rebuild our country communities – and this means housing

One could say that rural development has a considerable benefit over urban, in that there is less pressure on the availability of rural land. OK, there would be a “hue and cry” if we started to build over the village green, nobody wants that. But villages and rural communities need to grow and develop, both physically and socially. If planning policy is used to hold back rural development in villages and smaller towns, they will simply become museum pieces and slowly die. Many villages have already lost the local shop, Post Office and pub. Action needs to be taken now to rebuild our countryside communities.

Whilst it is in the cities that there are the most acute housing issues, and delivering new affordable homes there must be the focus of central government, our local government needs to be proactive. There are around 4,500 villages in the country, many have an ageing population and need young blood for a vibrant community to thrive. But young families need affordable housing fit for purpose, both in the private rented sector and the owner-occupier market.

New housing schemes need to be well designed and sympathetic to the local style and community needs.  Therefore, this is my plea to the Parish Councils and other local community bodies to be positive about new development; without it, there could be nowhere for the teachers, the carers, the shop-owners or even our grandchildren to live.

Stuart Parfitt is Managing Director of BLG Development Finance and a keen cricketer.



“We have used BLG for development finance for over 8 years. During that time we have found their knowledge and expertise in the property development industry to be second to none. Their loan process, pragmatic and flexible approach to lending and flexibility when required has supported our business needs throughout the period and provided us with support to deliver new homes in Bristol and the surrounding areas.”

“As property developers you never know the curve balls that you may get and a project that is great on paper may prove a bit more tricky.  This happened to us on a project that BLG have funded and throughout they have supported us.  Our business likes to be collaborative and when we hit those tough moments it really felt like we were working as a team with BLG.  If you have a decent project you can get it funded, but what you really need is a business that is there to support and advise you as well.  For us on this project it was BLG.”

“I approached BLG Development finance with an opportunity I had in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, to build 5 new build houses in 2021. My main contact was Anil Bains who is a Director covering Asset Management. Within very quick timescales, BLG provided me with indicative quotes in regards the finance levels they could offer me. Having considered those levels, I requested a valuation to be carried out which again was dealt with swiftly. We proceeded to completion. The build went very smoothly with monthly monitoring being carried out by BLG and monthly drawdown requests dealt with in a very timely manner. Due to a difficult time generally in the market in regards selling, I was in need of a six-month extension to the loan which again was appraised very quickly and granted. Having dealt with numerous funders over the last 20 years, I can only speak highly of my personal experience with BLG and would very confidently work with them again on any future projects. “

"From our side it has also been a pleasure working with BLG and the team there. We have found you easy to deal with, proactive in resolving any minor issues that have arisen through the project and shown great flexibility in working with us as a partner. We will certainly like to work with you on future partners."

“I really appreciate your hard work. We really like the way you communicate & I must say I haven't seen many people who are that approachable.”

“A very efficient processing team, dealing with the DD once deal credit approved, through to completion”

“Many thanks for your efforts on this one and getting it approved and sorted so swiftly, very much appreciated. I am sure I will be speaking to your over the coming months.”

“We had other funding options, but chose to use BLG again, as we work well with the team, who always provide very clear information and advice with a friendly approach throughout the funding process. Very efficient and always very helpful.”

“Many thanks Anil, it’s been a real pleasure working with BLG so far.  We’re lining up the next project too”

“We would recommend all staff we have dealt with at BLG, as we are very satisfied with the team and the initial offer/terms presented, then you and the funding team, through to the draw down team at valuation stage.”

“All documents are clear and the way you keep clients informed, all the way along the funding process, is refreshing for us”

“With regard to what should be improved at BLG, we work with many lenders in our business and we do not get the help and response we have had on the two projects with all at BLG on our funding for our developments.”

“We would particularly mention Dave Edwards and Tom Pitts as being central to having a smooth working relationship and being positive and helpful at all times. Their guidance in helping us navigate the project from inception to completion was invaluable. As was their patience, particularly at the beginning. We look forward to many future projects with the BLG team.”

“We would like to express our appreciation for your support on our development in Bristol. We were very pleased that, from the outset, you shared our vision of the project to convert a dated but classical building, that had outlived its usefulness as a school, into unique luxury apartments with views overlooking the city. We found our dealings practical and streamlined. Monthly payments were processed in an efficient and timely manner.”

“BLG are very good at communicating with clients and all documents are very clear and all at BLG are always happy to help.”

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