TWO childhood friends have reunited to set up a new property development in Urmston.

Aaron Stowell and Richard Whiting have been friends ever since they were pupils together at Stretford High School.

While Richard qualified as a surveyor and pursued a career as a director at a number of architectural practices in the North West, Aaron became an investment banker based in London and has now returned to his North West roots.

Now, the pair, both aged 38 have joined forces to found Elmridge Developments to set up a new property developments across the North West and have completed their debut project of four family homes in Urmston.

Richard came across the opportunity to develop the site by chance after driving past a timber merchant that was on the market as the owner was retiring.

The open plan, four bedroom homes were designed and developed in house, with the build tendered out to four local contractors.

Richard said: “I was keen to secure an opportunity in Urmston as it is very much an up-and-coming area.

“We’re already looking at similar sized developments in Warrington and Lymn that we hope to be able to progress in the next six months.

“The aim is to build a brand that is known and respected, not just by the public but within the industry too.”

Aaron said: “Working in the City has its rewards, but I felt that working with Richard to build something tangible would be more rewarding.

“Manchester is a growing city and there is a shortage of good quality family homes.

“We want to develop the kind of quality properties that we would be proud to live in ourselves, in towns and suburbs across the north west.

“We feel that the areas that we are targeting and the kind of homes we are building will help to insulate us from any market fluctuations going forward.”

The pair set up the business with support from a £500,000 development loan from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Craig Gibbons, relationship manager, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It’s great to be able to support a new business that is led by a dynamic, energetic top team like Richard and Aaron.

“The success of their debut project has given them the confidence to pursue more opportunities in the area and they have already identified sites with strong potential.”

All the four homes have already been sold, and the new owners moved in last month.

The pair hope to achieve annual profits of £1m by the end of their third year in business.