Councillors have wholeheartedly agreed to establish a wholly owned development company, following the collapse of their preferred contractor Woodhead Construction.
At a Special Council meeting on Wednesday 2 November 2022, members heard proposals that the new company would ‘provide a shareholder return on investment whilst delivering wider social and economic benefits to communities’.
Dragonfly Development has been tasked with creating economic growth and community regeneration through direct commercial action and to generate an income for the Council.
Council Leader, Councillor Steve Fritchley said, “I have always said that to be in control of a situation you have to own it. And with establishing this new company, our destiny is in our own hands now.
“With government grants reducing all the time, we have to make bold decisions about how we will fund our services, where our income will come from and how we will continue to regenerate and develop the District for the benefit of our communities. If we are to survive, then we have to become more business-minded and self-sufficient and this is the first step in achieving that.”
We have already identified development projects for the next five-years including the current construction projects of 80 Council properties in Whaley Thorns, Whitwell and Shirebrook and the new £3million Creswell Heritage and Wellbeing Centre.
Chief Executive, Karen Hanson said, “We had to act quickly. When Woodhead Construction went into administration it left us with a black hole in terms of our current development projects. But we took quick decisive action to ensure all of our current developments would continue and the establishment of this company is the next phase in ensuring we deliver what we said we would.”
The new company will initially focus on two areas that will generate income for the Council:
- Housing - The increase in ‘Right to Buy’ requests for council properties far outweighs the number of council houses being built. But Dragonfly Construction can assist the Council in building up its housing stock, retaining the income and safeguarding jobs, all in line with market needs.
- Commercial - The new company has the necessary skills and ability to find and match land to meet demand and build bespoke commercial developments that will create jobs and improve the local economy.
In addition, Dragonfly can also build new and buy open market properties that will build their investment portfolio, drive up landlord standards, diversify the offer to local residents and increase income potential.
New Chief Executive of Dragonfly Development, Grant Galloway said, “This is fantastic news, we have an exciting future ahead of us. We know we have the expertise and know-how to become one of the leading developers in the region that builds high quality, design-led homes and business accommodation.
“We have our bread and butter developments of housing and commercial properties. But we will also be looking at commercial and retail investment opportunities. This will not only provide us with a healthy yield, but enable us to buy a stake in town and village centres and influence how they look and feel as well as boosting the local economy.”
We are now in the process of taking the appropriate legal advice and preparing reports that will set out future management and financial arrangements as well detailed business cases for developments.