A new development and investment company, This Land, has arrived on the residential property scene with ambitions to shake up the traditional housebuilding model.

David Gelling This Land

David Gelling says This Land will “challenge the traditional model of housebuilding in the UK”

Some of the country’s biggest housebuilders have suffered reputational damage over the past few years by churning out poor-quality homes in undesirable locations. This Land says it intends to set itself apart by putting the customer first.

Property Week caught up with This Land managing director David Gelling to find out how.

What are This Land’s development ambitions?

We’ve acquired an impressive portfolio and pipeline of developments. With each development fully financed, This Land will deliver in excess of 1,000 new homes and drive significant growth over the next five years.

This Land is a privately owned company that expects to receive £100m from its investor Cambridgeshire County Council. Like any investor, the council has made its investment in anticipation of achieving significant returns.  

This investment will be used to buy and redevelop sites throughout the UK, focusing initially on areas around Cambridge – the fastest-growing city economy in the UK.

We’ve just completed our first purchase of a portfolio of 14 sites valued at £23m, with the acquisition of a further six to eight sites due to complete imminently.

When and why did you set up This Land?

We set up This Land in 2017 and we are building and strengthening our team. Our aim is to challenge the traditional model of housebuilding in the UK.

We’re focused on customer satisfaction and building long-term positive relationships both with our customers and also with the communities that we become part of, rather than simply selling homes and moving on to the next project.

You describe yourself as a challenger company – how are you different to other development companies?

We approach development from the customer perspective. We’ve carried out research into what customers are looking for and using this intelligence, we will build places where people want to both live and come back to.

Our homes are for everyone – local homebuyers and potential relocators. We’ve developed every category of homes – from the entry-level starter home through to the higher end of the market. To support our ethos of placemaking, we’ve developed a concept called Placecraft, which will be applied to all our sites.

What is Placecraft?

Placecraft is like a mission statement that guides our approach to placemaking to ensure the creation of desirable, neighbourly environments.

For example, the plots of land our homes are built on come with planning already approved for extensions to the house. This innovative approach to our developments gives customers the flexibility to adapt their homes when their needs change and their families grow.

Will you stick to building houses or do you plan to diversify?

The newly acquired portfolio lends itself to a variety of mixed-use developments. In our first five years, we will primarily focus on large and small-scale residential developments. Our long-term vision is to also deliver mixed-use, retail and commercial developments throughout the UK.