William Ballard started a housebuilding business in the mid 1950s. The business was run through various entities over the years, but more recently most of our residential development has been carried out by Compton Developments Limited, which was set up in 1974 and trades under the name of Ballard Homes.
Nearly all Ballard Homes developments have been in or around Neath and Swansea in South Wales. A list of some of the developments of new homes we have carried out in the past can be found on the Ballard Homes website.
In the early 1980s we acquired our first parcel of land for commercial development: the site at Pontardulais Road, Swansea was sold on a few years later for development as a DIY store..
William Ballard’s son, Peter, joined the business full time in 1984.
In 1985 we acquired 100% control of a ceramic tile business: the trade, which was originally carried on by B J Ceramics (Wales) Limited, was subsequently transferred to Ceramiks Limited as part of a reorganisation. By having a ceramic tile company within the group, we have been able to optimise the standard of finishes in the new homes we build by selecting premium wall and floor tiles.
In 1987 we decided to invest some of the capital which had been built up in acquiring third party ground rent portfolios. We had already had a limited amount of experience of running a small ground rents portfolio, as some of our new homes had been sold on a leasehold basis with the freehold reversions being retained by ourselves. We were also already aware of the commercial potential for generating commissions from placing building insurance on behalf of lessees. By 1991 sufficient third party portfolios had been added to our existing portfolio to enable us to recruit both a full time in-house solicitor to acquire more ground rent portfolios and a full time chief executive to take the insurance broking business forward.
We continued to expand all parts of the business. We added to our ground rent portfolio and in 1999 we started to provide a management service for lessees in blocks of flats. This meant that we could then acquire ground rent portfolios comprising flats where the landlord is obliged to provide management.
We acquired commercial sites in Shotwick, Treforest and Cardiff Bay and residential sites in Briton Ferry, North Cornelly and Pen-y-Groes.
We also started investing in research carried out by The School of Biosciences, Cardiff University: this research is in areas totally unconnected with our mainstream business.
In order to deal with the administrative workload arising from managing our ground rent portfolio, we set up a company, wholly under common control, in Chennai, India. This company, as well as providing back-office support for the Compton Group, now offers accountancy outsourcing services to third parties, particularly other block managers.
Following the global economic downturn in 2008 we have tended to divert our development expertise more towards solar energy projects and in 2016 we launched the Uk's largest solar park. The 72.2 MW solar park was energised on 30th March 2016 and sold to the Foresight Group in 2017.
Since establishing a back-office function in India, members of the Swansea team have had the opportunity to visit Chennai and work with their Indian colleagues. Many have also enjoyed holidays in Kerala and Southern India which has resulted in the launch of a new travel business, Authentic India Tours in June 2018.
In the future, we will carry on investing in our existing business, but, as in the past, we will be on the look-out for new opportunities. We will continue to act as an entrepreneurial family company.