Homes builder makes first major acquisition since it was bought up

A Hopkins Homes development

One of Hopkins Homes' traditionally-designed dwellings - Credit: Hopkins Homes

A homes builder operating across Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire has expanded into Essex after snapping up  a 16-acre site near Chelmsford.

The prime site at Beaulieu Park in Chelmsford is the first major flagship acquisition for Hopkins Homes since it was acquired by private equity firm Terra Firma in January 2022.

Woodbridge-based Hopkins Homes was founded by James Hopkins in 1993 who started out by renovating a derelict cottage in Halesworth with a friend. He built it up into one of the largest private housebuilding companies in East Anglia before selling the business in January 2022 for an undisclosed sum.

The company is planning to submit an application in the coming months to create around 260 homes in a range of styles and sizes from one-bedroom apartments through to five-bedroom detached houses. Almost a third of the proposed homes will be affordable housing to be sold through shared ownership or social rented schemes. It will also include a small retail centre.

Lee Barnard, Managing Director of Hopkins Homes

Lee Barnard, managing director of Hopkins Homes, says East Anglia will remain at the heart of the newly-acquired company's operations - Credit: Hopkins Homes

Hopkins Homes managing director Lee Barnard said: “We are incredibly excited by this site, which gives us the perfect opportunity to deliver the homes we are renowned for beyond our core East Anglian roots.

“Our reputation has been built around creating distinction in everything that we do – taking the time and care to build beautiful, high-quality homes that complement their surroundings, creating places that people are proud to call home.

“East Anglia will remain at the very heart of our operation, and we are pleased our new partnership with Terra Firma is allowing us to embed our passion into new and wider areas across our region. Their ongoing support will enable the company to grow from strength to strength.”

The new development will be in one of the most sought-after locations in Essex, the company said, with the Beaulieu masterplan set to create a 3,600-home community.

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Terra Firma founder Guy Hands said the acquisition of Beaulieu Park marked "the start of an exciting new chapter and will drive the next phase of success for Hopkins Homes".

“We are proud of the Hopkins Homes team for building an enviable reputation by creating outstanding homes and communities that people love to live in," he said.

"It is this commitment to quality that allows the business to move into new places and expand their success in exciting new areas of operation.”

The housebuilder was previously gateway developer at Alconbury Weald in Cambridgeshire and Kingsfleet in Thetford.

Hopkins Homes employs more than 200 full-time staff across its construction, sales, and customer service teams, and creates more than 1,500 jobs throughout the construction and supply chain each year, it said. 

It is currently building almost 1,000 homes across 25 developments in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.