North Horsham development sold: Major British company takes control of delivering homes

North Horsham site (photo from HDC planning portal). SUS-160408-161431001
North Horsham site (photo from HDC planning portal). SUS-160408-161431001

A major British company has taken control of delivering the 2,750 home North Horsham development.

Liberty Property Trust was granted outline planning permission for the homes, a business park, land for new schools as well as community and sports facilities by Horsham District Council in May 2017.

However Legal & General Capita have purchased the site from Liberty and will now be responsible for bringing forward the development.

Kerrigan Procter, chief executive officer of Legal & General Capital, said: “England has a shortfall of four million homes and the affordability gap for buyers and renters is at an historic high. We need to stop measuring the housing gap and start to close it.

“This acquisition in Horsham is an exceptionally exciting opportunity for Legal & General to deliver a genuinely multi-tenure community, utilising our patient capital and in-house expertise to bring forward a significant pipeline of housing for all ages, tenures and social groups.

“As a business, we have a core commitment to create sustainable communities with good employment opportunities, high-quality and varied housing and easy access to an efficient and comprehensive public transport system, whilst reducing our environmental impact.

“Legal & General is unique in being able to deliver such a varied range of housing due to the diversity of its capital streams which can provide a hedge against current house price volatility.

“This strategic extension of Horsham will represent a blueprint that we can roll out across the UK, working in close partnership with local councils and the public sector to create places where people can live, work and prosper.”

Legal & General’s move into large-scale master development comes on the back of a number of major Government initiatives to promote the delivery of housing at scale to address the UK’s housing crisis. This includes NPPF2, the £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund for Local Authorities and the £3bn Home Building

Fund enabling accelerated scheme delivery.

The need to take a multi-tenure approach to housing development was also identified as critical to accelerating overall build out rates and also creating compelling and enduring communities in the recent Letwin Review.

James Lidgate, director of housing at Legal & General Capital, added: “This site represents the first step for Legal & General to expand its current strategic land capabilities into master Development. Against the backdrop of the UK’s chronic housing shortage, our move into this sector is a milestone for both the business and house building more widely, meeting the Government’s objective to enable and accelerate delivery of large scale sites to tackle this persistent issue.

“Master developing is a particularly underserved market area and Legal & General is well placed to utilise its 20 years’ experience in all aspects of residential property and bring a new approach to the residential development.

“By leveraging its long-term patient capital to provide a strong multi-tenure pipeline, Legal & General in a unique position deliver a site of this scale across a number of building phases to include not only build to sell homes but also long-term options such as Build To Rent and affordable housing which are less exposed to current market fluctuations.”

Andrew Blevins, managing director of Liberty’s UK development and investment activities, said: “We are delighted that having secured the outline planning consent for this huge and exciting project we have been able to identify such an accomplished multi-disciplinary development and investment company for the future delivery of much needed housing in the South East of England.”

Ray Dawe, leader of Horsham District Council, added: “It is excellent news for Horsham that Legal & General, a major British company, has taken over the North Horsham development from Liberty Property Trust. At a time when there is considerable national political and economic uncertainty, this investment by

Legal & General shows huge confidence in our district and in the combination of commercial and residential use on this site.

“We very much look forward to working with them and bringing forward the new jobs and homes that this development offers us.”

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