A Somerset letting agency based in Weston-Super-Mare has spent £250,000 opening a branch in neighbouring Burnham-on-Sea to combat the “negativity” created by the illegal cartel uncovered by the Competitions and Market Authority (CMA) in the town last year.
Glenthworth Lettings has opened its branch on College Street in Burnham and taken on three new staff to run the branch.
Five local agents were fined more than £370,000 after being found to have colluded to set a minimum commission rate of 1.5%.
The agents were Abbott & Frost, Gary Berryman Estate Agents, Greenslade Taylor Hunt and West Coast Property Services (UK) Ltd.
Glenthworth’s Managing Director Darren Clapp told a local website that it’s a “ a lovely town that needs confidence in the property market,” he said.
“We have moved to Burnham due to the negative in the local estate market over recent months.”
The local property market has taken a battering since the cartel was exposed in September last year, which involved agents who the CMA said controlled 95% of the local market.
In April two directors of Abbott & Frost were disqualified as directors and banned from taking up any directorships for three years.
The Burnham branch opening by Glentworth is part of an aggressive thrust by Darren to expand his 20-year-old family business, with further branch openings planned in Bridgewater, Taunton and Portishead this year and next.
The new branch is also home to one of Darren’s other businesses, national property inspections software supplier KPR. He also runs a franchised commercial property sales firm and is on the management board of a local hotel and spa.