Thrings Bristol team helps Wiltshire property developer build its portfolio

September 4, 2019

Experts in the Bristol office of law firm Thrings have helped an award-winning building company continue its fast-paced growth by securing funds for a new housing development in a Wiltshire village.

Stonewood Builders, which specialises in high-specification refurbishment, conversion and new build projects, has secured the funding through Housing Growth Partnership (HGP) – a social impact equity investor backed by Lloyds Bank and Homes England – and a development loan from Close Brothers Property Finance. 

It will enable Stonewood to build 38 homes on acquired land in Great Somerford, near Chippenham, pictured. The scheme will include two, three, four, and five-bedroom houses, 10 of them affordable.

Bristol-based Thrings corporate partner John Richardson and banking partner Mike Tomlin, working with Michael Chilton, construction partner in the firm’s London office, advised Stonewood Partnerships, Castle Combe-based Stonewood Builders’ recently created subsidiary company.

Work included reviewing the development management agreement, preparing the schedule of amendments to the JCT design and build contract, reviewing the joint venture partnership between Stonewood and HGP, settling shareholder loan documentation and assessing the loan and security terms set by Close Brothers Property Finance.

A JCT (Joint Contracts Tribunal) design and build contract is designed for construction projects where the contractor carries out both the design and the construction work. 

Stonewood group commercial director Ben Lang, pictured, said: “Our new build developments are an exciting part of Stonewood’s continued growth and, having acquired this site, we are looking forward to working with our funding partners to deliver a high-quality scheme.

“We had a challenging deadline to meet and Thrings worked with us really effectively to get the deal done.”

Stonewood has grown considerably over the past 10 years and currently employs more than 160 qualified professionals. Its clients include the Emily Estate near Castle Cary in Somerset, Bath-headquartered architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Cirencester Park owner Bathurst Estate, and Bath’s five-star Royal Crescent Hotel.

In recent years, its work has won several Federation of Master Builders and Houzz awards while the firm was a finalist in last year’s Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Building Excellence Awards.

Stonewood Partnerships directors include finance director Adam Marks and head of development and partnerships Gavin Calthrop.

Thrings partner John Richardson added: “Over the past 40 years, Stonewood has built an enviable reputation for excellence in delivering high-specification building projects for its clients while maintaining an unwavering commitment to innovation and sustainability.

“Thrings is very pleased to have worked with Adam, Gavin, Ben and their team to secure funds which will result in 38 homes being built. We look forward to working together again as the business pursues further opportunities for growth and explores larger development projects.”

Stonewood received advice on the property aspects of the transaction from Wiltshire law firm Goughs Solicitors. HGP was represented by the Bristol office of international law firm Osborne Clarke, while London-based specialist property law firm Brecher acted on behalf of Close Brothers Property Finance.

Thrings also has offices in Romsey, Hants, Bath, Swindon and London.


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