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Stewart Milne announces expansion plan

Scottish housebuilder Stewart Milne has announced plans to expand its business in Edinburgh and east central Scotland.The housebuilder aims to construct up to 5,000 new homes across the UK during the next three years, having secured financial backing of £225 million from the Bank of Scotland.A new office for the group's homes division will be opened at the Apex Building in Haymarket, Edinburgh.New developments in the region are expected to be brought onstream later this year following recent projects in Bonnyrigg, Prestonpans and Gorebridge. Jonathan Fair, managing director of Stewart Milne Homes Central, said: "Our homes division is well placed to capitalise on the increased demand for new homes, which is why we see Edinburgh and the surrounding region playing a key role in our forward growth plans."Mr Fair told the Herald Scotland that market conditions are now more favourable, but despite the presence of government initiatives such as Help to Buy acting as a stimulus there is still a long way to go to meet demand for new properties.Stewart Milne currently has 30 sites under development in Scotland and north-west England. So far this year, reservations are 25 per cent higher than forecast. Some 20 new developments are planned by the group's Homes division in the next 18 months.The firm's landholding comprises 2,500 consented plots and a further 11,000 plots controlled under conditional contracts. Stewart Milne's core homes and timber systems divisions generated an operating profit of £20.5 million last year from a turnover of £205 million, on the back of a ten per cent increase in home sales.News of the firm's expansion plans comes after upmarket Scottish housebuilder CALA Group announced its intention to more than double the size of its operations by 2017.CALA recently acquired Banner Group, and their combined business will directly employ over 600 people and have a turnover of more than £500 million in its first full year, with net assets of £200 million. 

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