Czero was founded by Simon Linford and Robert Pearson, who were Chief Executive and Managing Director of Linford Group, a main contractor with a strong specialism in historic building restoration. Simon was not there for long before coming to the conclusion that being a main contractor was not for us and that he would rather be in development.
Andrea Pearson left Linford Group at the same time, and together the team worked on low carbon housing development. A key initial project was a development of Hemcrete houses in Diss, Norfolk, then a number of other single low and zero carbon homes.
Simon was out looking for historic building projects, having found that particularly interesting during his short time at Linford Group. The first building taken off the Heritage at Risk Register was Little Bolton Town Hall, closely followed by St John’s church Hanley.
Czero then completed two very challenging projects that saw a couple of listed buildings which were really beyond hope turned into student accommodation. The first was the former Welsh Baptist Chapel in Manchester, followed by the Emporium in Birmingham. Both of these were forward funded by Empiric Student Property, who had the vision to dream the impossible dream.
Back to housing, and the number of people asking Czero to help the build their own sustainable home led us to look at custom build. Despite the demand for people wanting to building there own home, there are not many developers specialising in it. Our first project was in Bishops Castle in Shropshire, where we developed nine serviced plots, all of which have now been built out.
The relationship with Steenvlinder came from Simon Linford meeting Hans Sparreboom on a Right to Build Taskforce fact-finding mission to Holland, when one of the schemes visited was Escamplaan. The experience of delivering Escamplaan (while an employee of the Council) gave Hans the inspiration for Steenvlinder.
Together Steenvlinder’s and Czero expect to deliver a step change in the delivery of self and custom build housing in the UK.