Bridge of Allan business marks 40-year milestone

BRIDGE of Allan-based Allan Water Developments is celebrating reaching 40 years in business.

Still involved in commercial developments across Scotland, the business also encompasses Allanwater Homes, its housebuilding division.

Launched to market in 2007, Allanwater Homes is now a distinct brand with seven current developments across Scotland’s central belt. New developments are launching soon in Haddington and Chryston as the company enters new geographic locations for the first time.

MD David Stirling, who has been involved in the business since 1994, said he was delighted to see the company reach such a significant milestone. He remains positive about the future, despite the Covid-19 challenges.

“We went into the pandemic situation in good shape and are well placed to bounce back quickly afterwards. We were very fortunate to reserve a number of properties during lockdown, and have just launched the new Allanwater Stirling development, with two more new developments to launch,” he explained.

“Other developments, such as the new Cambusbarron site, which was only launched early in the New Year, and offers a mix of luxury townhouses and apartments, experienced more than a dozen early bird reservations straight from plan. That was just before lockdown ensued. It was a superb start, proving that the market had definitely picked up at the start of the year, with the resolution of Brexit definitely helping.

“We’d also just promoted the fact that, with a showhome launch at our Alva development, Silver Glen, in January, we became the first Scottish housebuilder to debut the new range of Moores kitchens developed by Michelin chef, Michel Roux Junior. This was a huge coup for us to be chosen for this prestigious launch and was set to attract many more prospective buyers to view our product.”

Stirling cited the new Allanwater brand name for developments in Haddington, Stirling, and Chryston as ‘ground-breaking’ for the firm.

“It’s a bit different from the norm, and we feel it will make us stand out,” he added. “Most housebuilders tend to use the same type of names over and over again at new developments, such as The Meadows, or The Glades and so on, or name them after historical points of interest. We wanted to introduce something simple which puts our brand at the heart.

“The Haddington development will see us present luxury bungalows to market. It’s our first development in East Lothian, an area where we are not known at all, so we have a real job to do here. Similarly, going west to Chryston is another new challenge. It’s our furthest move west as we travel from our traditional heartland of Stirling, Dunblane and the Hillfoots.”

Reflecting on the company’s journey over the decades, Stirling added, “In the early days for Allan Water Developments, the majority of the work was refurbishing old buildings into flats. In the mid 1980 my father Ian bought an old property for the purpose of refurbishment, but it was problematic to split into apartments, and so it ended up becoming a nursing home. This changed the company’s focus, and for the next 20 years Allan Water Developments was essentially a care home business, with all work being completed in house.

“I came into the business in 1994 with a degree in engineering. I wanted to be more development-focused, so we started to push back into that in the late 1990s, selling the care home company in 2006.”

Allan Water Developments revealed it managed to buck an industry trend by thriving during the recession thanks to carefully selected land acquisitions. In 2007 the firm established Allanwater Homes, a distinct company within its portfolio.

“We continue to do commercial, retail and leisure projects too, but there is a real thrust on growing Allanwater Homes,” Stirling commented. “As a smaller company, we can offer clients a bit more for their money, be it a better quality of finish or more space. We offer flexibility. Unlike volume builders, who are constrained by the nature of their work, we’ll listen to what people want and tailor houses to meet their needs.”