Connect with us

News

£220k a year CEO David Lewis parts company from county council owned This Land

This Land Ltd recorded an operating loss for the year of £5m – up from £3.6m in the previous year.

Avatar photo

Published

on

David Lewis, the £220,000 a year chief executive, has parted company with This Land Ltd, the standalone housing company owned by Cambridgeshire County Council. His resignation from This Land Ltd – and its associated companies – was reported on Companies House website on November 23, less than a month after publication of the 2022/23 accounts.

This Land Annual Business Plan and progress monitoring

In October last year Mr Lewis attended the beginning of work on a new site that will eventually create 230 homes in south-east Cambridge. The Eddeva Park housing development is between Babraham Road and Worts’ Causeway.

He said: “We have worked closely with Cambridge City Council to ensure that this development supports its Local Plan and delivers significant wider benefits to the community.

“It also furthers our joint ambition to create a greener future with a housing development that minimises energy usage and creates new habitats that let nature thrive.”

He said that when completed, Eddeva Park will provide 230 new homes, of which 40 per cent will be affordable.

October 2023: (left to right): Ross Mowle (Senior Development Manager, This Land); Tim Tyte (Contracts Manager, Breheny), David Lewis (CEO, This Land), Mitch West (Site Manager, Breheny). With Breheny site operatives and General Foreman.

October 2023: (left to right): Ross Mowle (Senior Development Manager, This Land); Tim Tyte (Contracts Manager, Breheny), David Lewis (CEO, This Land), Mitch West (Site Manager, Breheny). With Breheny site operatives and General Foreman. Edeva Park.

But publication of the annual accounts – and actions by the board – spurred a change at the top soon afterwards.

The accounts showed This Land Ltd had recorded an operating loss for the year of £5m – up from £3.6m in the previous year.

And a parting of the ways for Mr Lewis who had joined This Land in February 2019 as its strategic land director, two years replacing David Gelling as chief executive, firstly as interim CEO in 2021 and then confirmed permanently in the role in 2022.

Prior to joining This Land, Mr Lewis had been head of strategic land for the Eastern region at Commercial Estates Group.

Of late, This Land has been treading on treacle as it sought to accomplish the targets it set itself to repay the £113m in outstanding loans to the county council.

I understand parting of the ways with Mr Lewis was a mutual decision between him and the board.

With the current – and uncertain – climate facing the housing market, the directors of This Land Ltd felt change was needed at the top and recognition by Mr Lewis himself that someone with even stronger financial credentials was needed to guide the company through turbulent times.

Advertisements
canopyuk.com in-article

The prospects for This Land remain optimistic, according to their most recent business plans, but the county council has intensified its scrutiny.

Michael Hudson, the county council executive director of finance and resources, looks to be spending considerable time on the affairs of This Land Ltd.

Last year he spoke publicly of “high-profile examples elsewhere of councils experiencing financial difficulties and requiring national intervention as a result of disproportionate commercial risk, in some cases involving subsidiary housing companies”.

And he is believed to have commissioned – from an external source – a fresh and independent review of the current business plan for This Land Ltd.

Ironically, Mr Lewis, in the annual accounts published weeks before his departure, offered what many regard as an unduly optimistic forecast for This Land.

“During the next 10 years, This Land plans to deliver 900 homes in Cambridgeshire – of these 387 will be affordable homes,” he wrote. It was, he said, proof of This Land’s commitment “to deliver our broader social objectives”.

It was left to Laura Lawrence, This Land’s finance director, to spell out “the key business risks”.

She says in the preface to the annual accounts that This Land’s risks include:

1: A decline or contraction of the economy leading to reduced selling prices and a fall in a demand.

2: Inflation, labour, supply chain costs

3: Bank interest rates making it more difficult repay mortgages and a reduction in the supply of mortgages

Ms Lawrence says on the upside This Land’s loans are all fixed interest rates loans and exposure to interest rate increases on its loans is nil.

“There is potentially a negative short-term impact in both demand and value of houses that needs to be closely monitored,” she says.

But This Land “does not have excessive stock and is therefore not exposed to short term valuation fluctuations. Should the economic impact be longer lasting then the risk o the business will increase significantly as asset values may diminish”.

 

 

Facebook

Read More

A Stagecoach spokesperson said re-opening the section will see ‘journey times between the Biomedical Campus and Cambridge Railway Station radically reduced to less than 5 minutes’. A Stagecoach spokesperson said re-opening the section will see ‘journey times between the Biomedical Campus and Cambridge Railway Station radically reduced to less than 5 minutes’.
News5 mins ago

Stagecoach ‘delighted’ at re opening of key section of Guided Busway

In 2022, the Busway was named by the Daily Telegraph as one of Britain’s 10 most beautiful bus routes

Florin Buti, 19, of Ridgwell Road, London, denied rape and fraud by false representation, but he was found guilty following a trial at Peterborough Crown Court Florin Buti, 19, of Ridgwell Road, London, denied rape and fraud by false representation, but he was found guilty following a trial at Peterborough Crown Court
News1 hour ago

Three men jailed for total of more than 28 years for raping woman in Cambridge

'Buti and the other defendants in this case clearly went looking for a woman to attack'

Running between Friday 19th April until Thursday 25th April, special screenings will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Luxe cinema, Wisbech Running between Friday 19th April until Thursday 25th April, special screenings will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Luxe cinema, Wisbech
News2 hours ago

The Luxe Wisbech: 15 Years of Movie Magic!

We have always seen ourselves as part of the heart of the town

MP Steve Barclay visits Whittlesey to promote election prospects for police and crime commissioner Darryl Preston and a local Conservative by election candidate. Videos made by Mr Barclay were ordered to be removed from a town council Facebook page MP Steve Barclay visits Whittlesey to promote election prospects for police and crime commissioner Darryl Preston and a local Conservative by election candidate. Videos made by Mr Barclay were ordered to be removed from a town council Facebook page
News19 hours ago

SPECIAL REPORT: Fenland Council orders MP Steve Barclay’s videos to be removed from Whittlesey Town Council Facebook page

'I have also requested that any reference to Whittlesey Town Council is removed'

The School for Scandal is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, April 13 then touring The School for Scandal is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, April 13 then touring
News2 days ago

REVIEW: ‘Immaculate performances’ in The School for Scandal at Cambridge Arts Theatre

The School for Scandal is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, April 13

A 33-year-old man from Huntingdon has now been arrested on suspicion of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. A 33-year-old man from Huntingdon has now been arrested on suspicion of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Crime2 days ago

Police arrest man who allegedly brandished imitation firearm in Huntingdon

'At about 7pm a man produced the firearm and pointed it at someone'

Whitemoor Prison, March, Cambridgeshire, where forensics experts are looking for DNA and other evidence after a prison officer was seriously assaulted. PHOTO: Bav Media Whitemoor Prison, March, Cambridgeshire, where forensics experts are looking for DNA and other evidence after a prison officer was seriously assaulted. PHOTO: Bav Media
News3 days ago

GoFundMe appeal to help family of prisoner officer seriously injured by Whitemoor inmate

As a result of being assaulted, he has spent almost 3.5 weeks in intensive care

The Combined Authority, which is responsible for transport across the region, has awarded a contract to A2B, a local and experienced bus operator The Combined Authority, which is responsible for transport across the region, has awarded a contract to A2B, a local and experienced bus operator
News3 days ago

Mayor Dr Nik Johnson saves Littleport to Cambridge bus route

Combined Authority acts quickly to plug the gaps left by Stagecoach

Simon Brignell will be contesting Cambridge's Abbey ward for the Communist Party which is campaigning with the slogan ‘Shake up the City Council, put a communist in the Guildhall! For Peace & Socialism!’ Simon Brignell will be contesting Cambridge's Abbey ward for the Communist Party which is campaigning with the slogan ‘Shake up the City Council, put a communist in the Guildhall! For Peace & Socialism!’
News3 days ago

OPINION: Why I am standing for the Communist Party for Abbey Ward in Cambridge.

'The policies of the ultra-wealthy are being imposed upon us from the top down'

Peter Baxter says little or nothing is being done to improve the A605 through Whittlesey Peter Baxter says little or nothing is being done to improve the A605 through Whittlesey
News3 days ago

OPINION: This make and mend road is a vital link and even in its third world state it’s all we have! 

Whittlesey needs to rethink its relationship with motorised transport