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Stewart Milne: Tayside new build projects in crisis after housing giant goes bust

Unfinished homes and gates closed at sites across Tayside following the housebuilder's collapse into administration.

Stewart Milne development in Hunter's Meadow, Auchterarder. Image: Morag Lindsay/DC Thomson
Stewart Milne development in Hunter's Meadow, Auchterarder. Image: Morag Lindsay/DC Thomson

The collapse of north-east housebuilder Stewart Milne has left unfinished homes across Tayside.

The firm was in the process of adding new homes at its site on Monarch’s Rise in Arbroath and its development at Hunter’s Meadow in Auchterarder.

But following shock news the company had plunged into administration just weeks after Christmas, the projects are now in limbo.

Staff say they have been left “reeling” at the firm’s sudden closure.

Sub-contractors have been seen at the Angus and Perthshire sites collecting equipment and tools, while work on the existing plots had visibly come to a halt.

In Arbroath, the second phase of construction remains completely gated-off from the existing estate.

Stewart Milne sales office is shut at Ballumbie Rise development in Dundee after the firm entered administration. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

A car park at the firm’s Dundee development at Ballumbie Rise was also empty.

Sales offices at the Ballumbie and Arbroath developments were unstaffed, with a sign notifying the administration procedure visible on the latter’s front door.

Hunter’s Meadow, Auchterarder

The company had planned on building around 150 houses on the Perthshire plot.

Site manager Paul Cahir said colleagues were “devastated” by the shock collapse of the business.

Paul Cahir in hoodie standing at open door to office with Stewart Milne logo on wall behind
Stewart Milne Homes Auchterarder site manager Paul Cahir. Image: DC Thomson

Mr Cahir said he had been dealing with contractors and fielding calls from people anxious to know what Monday’s announcement meant for the project.

“It came totally out of the blue,” he said.

“We had heard there might be something coming but we didn’t know how devastating it was going to be for so many people.”

“Most of the houses here are occupied,” he added.

“So I’ve not had people phoning to ask about deposits. But we have got traders in today taking their materials and tools off the site.”

The first phase of Stewart Milne Homes’ Hunter’s Meadow development in Auchterarder is close to completion.

Most of the homes are already occupied, some for several years.

Mr Cahir said there were just a handful of properties to be finished, and all but one have been sold.

“There’d been some talk of starting on the next phase in October,” he said.

“But no one knows what’s going to happen now.”

Hunter’s Meadow, Auchterarder. Image: Morag Lindsay/DC Thomson.

He said he said he was hoping to have a meeting with the administrators in the next day or two.

“Hopefully they’ll be able to tell us what happens next,” he said.

“Some of the office staff have been kept on to help people who have paid deposits and that kind of thing. But most people were just told to finish yesterday.”

Mr Cahir said he had worked for Stewart Milne for eight years. He’s been based at the Auchterarder site since finishing another project in Ayrshire.

However, workmates who have been with the business for decades were told they were out of a job with no notice on Monday.

“It was a good company to work for,” he said.

“I don’t know how much Stewart Milne had been involved with the business himself lately. But they looked after their staff.

“This is just a devastating blow.”

Monarch’s Rise, Arbroath

The Arbroath estate currently has 171 completed properties, and in 2021 had been planning on building at least 46 more following a planning application being approved.

Construction appears to have halted at the site, which lies close to Seaton Road.

Large metal and timber fences surround the plot.

Staff from sub-contractor companies were seen at the unfinished development the morning after the administration was announced.

A Norman Jamieson lorry loading equipment in Monarch’s Rise, Arbroath. Image: Paul Malik/DC Thomson.
Work has stopped at the Stewart Milne developments in Tayside including Monarch’s Rise, Arbroath. Paul Malik/DC Thomson.

They appeared to be collecting tools, materials and equipment, while no evidence of construction work could be seen.

The site office was closed to the public, and a notice had been placed in the sales office at the entrance of the Monarch’s Rise development notifying of the companies sink into administration.

Ballumbie Rise, Dundee

At the Dundee development, both the site and sales offices were closed following Monday’s news.

Around 150 houses were constructed at the development, which sits north of Whitfield, and appears complete.

Locked gates Ballumbie Rise in Dundee. Image: Steve MacDougall/DC Thomson

Stewart Milne Homes’ plan to construct the properties in an area of land formerly part of Ballumbie Castle Golf Course was previously rejected by Dundee City Council.

But a reporter from the government’s planning department ruled the 7.5 hectare development, named Ballumbie Rise, could go ahead in 2022.

Stewart Milne collapse impact on Tayside

The housebuilder’s collapse came after an attempt to sell the company fell through last year.

The business was started by former Aberdeen Football Club chairman Stewart Milne in 1975 after he qualified as an electrician.

Administrator Teneo said 217 jobs would be affected. Hundreds of other sub-contractor roles are also expected to be hit.

Unite the Union said employees had no warning and the union is exploring legal action.

Buyers who have bought or reserved homes from Stewart Milne Group and have not yet moved in will be contacted by the administrators directly.

Current residents with outstanding works are asked to contact for further information.