Family firm receives cash boost from new £10m fund

From left: Tony Cullen, of FW Capital; Andy Lowe, of W Brown & Son; Michael Shuker, of Square One Law; and Matthew Ebbatson, of the North East LEP. Picture by Crest Photography
From left: Tony Cullen, of FW Capital; Andy Lowe, of W Brown & Son; Michael Shuker, of Square One Law; and Matthew Ebbatson, of the North East LEP. Picture by Crest Photography
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A Northumberland developer has become the first business to secure backing from a new £10million property fund aimed at supporting smaller-scale North East construction and property-development projects.

Family-run firm W Brown & Son has begun work on building four three-bedroom bungalows and the conversion of a former builder’s office into a three-bedroom cottage in its home village of Thropton, after receiving a £750,000 loan from the North East Property Fund (NEPF).

Conceived and managed by investment firm FW Capital, the NEPF was created in response to strong demand from small and medium-sized construction and property-development companies who are unable to access mainstream finance from traditional sources.

The fund is backed by Santander and the North East LEP, and provides loans from £250,000 to £1million for residential and non-speculative commercial developments in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham.

The new development is the latest in a series of schemes that W Brown & Son has built in Thropton, where it has been based since being founded in 1913, and the properties are expected to be ready for occupation early in the new year.

Andy Lowe, project manager at W Brown & Son, said: “The owners of the site were looking to retire and it seemed an ideal location for us to extend our presence in a community that we know well.

“We looked at a number of different financing solutions for this scheme and FW Capital’s interest in it made them stand out as the right option to take; bringing in the loan went smoothly, while the cost makes economic sense.

“The NEPF provides a good option for smaller-scale developers, like us, to get projects moving that might not otherwise attract the backing they need. The opportunities it provides are worth investigating.”

The NEPF operates on a commercial basis, and by reinvesting returns into future projects, it has the potential to provide more than £30million of finance for smaller developers over the next five years.

Businesses wishing to apply for investment from the fund should contact Tony Cullen on 0191 269 6966, email tony.cullen@fwcapital.co.uk or visit www.fwcapital.co.uk