100 years of housebuilding for Cavanna Homes

100 years of housebuilding for Cavanna Homes

Leading South West housebuilder Cavanna Homes has marked 100 years in business with a special party for staff and shareholders at its Torquay headquarters.

Founded in 1923 by Philip ‘PD’ Cavanna and his brother Ray, the company has been at the forefront of house-building projects across the Westcountry for the past century, retaining a commitment to quality set by its founders.

The expansion of the business has seen Cavanna Homes, now one of the South West’s largest independent housebuilders, appoint non-family members in senior roles.

However, Jeremy Cavanna, the grandson of co-founder PD Cavanna, remains as a non-executive director, after handing over the chairmanship of the business this year to Keith Miller, formerly group managing director and then deputy chairman. Grayham Tucker was appointed to the role of group managing director in January 2023 to oversee the day-to-day operation of the company.

Keith Miller told guests at the celebration event: “There have been huge changes in the housebuilding industry over the past century and Cavanna Homes has moved with the times. But the business has always stuck to the principles of its family founders – delivering excellent homes safely and to the highest standard for our customers.”

The company has come a long way from its foundation, embracing the latest sustainable technology in many of the homes it builds, designing property to meet the needs of 21st century living and providing help and support for hard-pressed homebuyers.

Cavanna Homes has never lost sight of its strong Torbay presence and continues to concentrate on building beautiful and sustainable new homes in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset.

When the company was founded, Britain was still emerging from the economic difficulties caused by the aftermath of the First World War. In 1923 the Cavanna brothers set out from their home in Watford to seek work as plasterers in Torquay. They had been advised by their parents, who had been in service on the English Riviera, to head West.

The thinking was that because Torquay homes were often finished with render there would be plenty of work for qualified plasterers and the brothers soon branched out into house building.

In 1924 sufficient progress had been made for P.D and Ray’s families to join them in the homes they had built in Laura Grove, Paignton. Not long after, the partnership dissolved and P.D moved into general contracting and house building while Ray continued the plastering business.

As the need for new housing increased, especially following the Second World War, Cavanna Homes began to grow into Torbay’s foremost building company and in 1949 the company was incorporated. The business grew through the 1960s and 1970s, selling in excess of 100 homes a year for the first time.

PD Cavanna was involved in the business with his sons and son-in-law at the helm, right up until his death in 1983 at the age of 93.

In the past year Cavanna Homes has been shortlisted for an award in the Michelmores Property Awards for its development at Wolborough Hill, Newton Abbot and is also in the running for a national Housebuilder Award for its scheme Broadleigh Park in Tavistock. The finals will be held in November.

A team of cyclists from Cavanna Homes raised more than £12,000 in July for its Charity of the Year, Children’s Hospice South West, completing the gruelling St Austell to Bristol “Ride for Precious Lives” sponsored cycle ride.

And, in recognition of the challenges facing first-time buyers as mortgage rates rise, Cavanna Homes has been offering a helping hand to buyers with a contribution to their deposit, cutting borrowing and reducing monthly mortgage payments on selected homes.

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