The newly appointed Managing Director for housebuilder Dandara’s Southern division has his sights set on growth in the South. Richard Matthews intends to transform the company into a major player in the southern sector, concentrating on buying up land and increasing turnover.
“My main priority is to grow and build the business as soon as possible,” says Richard. “We have a great team and are positioned well from our central Southampton office, so all the foundations are here; we just need to add a few more ingredients to it.”
Richard has joined Dandara from Riverdale Developments, a Surrey-based housebuilder where he was a hands-on MD, looking after all aspects of the business activities. During his three years in the role, he doubled the annual rate of house building and developed a business plan to continue sustainability and growth. Prior to that he was Commercial Director for Linden Homes South East, developing iconic London apartment blocks as well as traditional housing in Kent, Sussex and Surrey.
“The South and South West of England is a new area for me, but it’s a region that is experiencing sustained growth, and that’s where we need to be growing the business and becoming a major player,” he explains. “My main priority is to strengthen the business’ landholding in the region.”
When it comes to new developments, Richard will be concentrating his search on looking for medium to larger packages of land around existing developed areas. “Covid has brought about a shift in demand,” he explains. “People’s perceptions have changed and working from home is now a factor to consider, many want to live outside of towns in more of a village environment, still with good transport connections. We need to be flexible with our thinking as well as our living.”
It's a strategy that is already working well for Dandara Southern. Its development of two, three and four-bedroom homes at Drayton, for example, is in a quiet residential area just to the north of Portsmouth, giving it the benefit of being close to both town and countryside.
Similarly, Fontwell Meadows, a brand new development of one and two-bedroom apartments and two, three and four-bedroom houses, which will be launched later in the year, has a unique village position, with easy access to both Brighton and Portsmouth, while Paddock View, in the East Sussex village of Yapton, offers access to south coast towns as well as a straightforward commute to London.
Richard’s new role is part of a strategic growth plan for Dandara, which has also seen the appointment of Nicki Dennis as Head of Sales & Marketing and Katherine Child as Head of Land. Nicki was previously in the same role at CALA Group, and prior to that at Banner Homes, while Katherine has experience as a Senior Land Manager at both BoKlok Housing and Barratt David Wilson in the Southampton area. There is even more recruitment on the cards, with Dandara Southern on the look-out for a land manager and more site teams to drive the ambitious expansion plan.
Richard says: “I am really looking forward to working with Dandara. It’s a progressive, pro-active company with a great philosophy, and I am looking forward to helping it achieve its full potential. I have been in this industry for a long time, and above all else, I’m passionate about what we can deliver for our homebuyers. Customer perception is key to driving the business forward, and we will be striving to raise awareness of the high standards of service that we offer. We will be building high-quality traditional homes in the places where people want to put down roots, whether they are first time buyers or downsizers looking for a one-bedroom property, or families looking for a five-bedroom house they can grow into.”