This has been an extraordinary year and we have all had to do things differently, whether in working, living or staying in touch with our family and friends. Through the year’s adversity, Ballymore has come up with ways of continuing to foster regeneration and placemaking, completing the construction of 2,000 homes in the UK and Ireland and laying the foundations for social and economic sustainability.
We responded to rapidly changing circumstances by introducing a string of innovations and initiatives to help us continue delivering for our customers safely and support our communities. We introduced new working practices on our sites to keep workers COVID-safe and in Ireland worked alongside the government and its Construction Industry Federation to help shape new safety standards. Across our communities we worked with local entrepreneurs to keep supplies of groceries flowing through the first lockdown and help our independent businesses connect with customers.
These achievements and more through 2020 have relied on a little help from our friends, notably the hard work of our team members and our strong relationships with our partners and communities. “I’ve never been prouder of our teams than in this year. I have been humbled by the effort that has been made,” says Ballymore Group Chief Executive Sean Mulryan.
In all, over 1,700 new homes have been handed over at developments in the UK, including Royal Wharf, Goodluck Hope and Wardian in east London. In Ireland we completed over 390 homes and sold out our family homes at Longstone and Bellingsfield, in Naas, County Kildare, in record time. At Royal Wharf, buildings were handed over ahead of schedule during the first lockdown and in September we completed the neighbourhood with its 3,385 homes, school and other amenities. “Perhaps the greatest achievement there was the practical completion of the primary school, just as kids were getting back to school after some challenging months of teaching from home,” points out Mulryan.
At the same time, we’ve been working with local authorities and existing communities to shape future places, submitting planning applications for developments such as The Brentford Project in London and winning the go-ahead for projects including the new neighbourhood at Connolly Street in Dublin and Mill Harbour on the Isle of Dogs, for 1,700 new homes, leisure, two schools, new parks, and retail. There are many more exciting new projects on the way, the best known being The Guinness Quarter at St James’s Gate, in Dublin, where drinks giant Diageo this year chose Ballymore to partner in the creation of the city’s first zero carbon district.
Having overcome the challenges of 2020, Mulryan is now looking ahead. “With so many of our major regeneration projects nearing the end of construction, we’ve got our eyes on the next prize projects,” he says. “Edgware, Ladbroke Grove, Cuba Street and Knights Road…these will all be names you will hear more of in 2021.” Watch this space.