Grosvenor is planning to triple the size of its strategic land business, targeting a pipeline of 30,000 new homes in five years.
It is aiming to add two more developments to take its 9,300 pipeline of new homes to around 15,000 by the end of 2018. It is evaluating new sites in Chelmsford, Oxford and Surrey.
The landed estate is involved in four residential-led schemes in the South East – Barton Park in Oxfordshire, Trumpington Meadows in Cambridge, North Uttlesford garden community in Essex, and Oxford Cotswolds garden village.
New sites will continue to be within striking distance of London as Grosvenor plans to continue to run the business from its London headquarters.
But the new executive director of Grosvenor’s development arm, Jorge Mendonca, has said the strategic land business could look further afield in the future in areas where there is a “defined need for housing”. It has previously considered an opportunity in Bristol.
Mendonca is also to explore scaling up the business from its master developer role, in which Grosvenor partners with landowners or a council to take the scheme through the planning process, ensuring design quality and controlling delivery when plots are sold to housebuilders.
He says: “We should and will be exploring whether we can bring a build-to-rent model within that mix of housing, in which case we might see ourselves holding parts of future places for longer and operating that or partnering with another operator.
“There’s no one size fits all and it’s got to be bespoke to the community we’re serving but fundamentally we could put in our capital or joint venture with others.
“Generally we are just a service provider, but we could own the land and be part of that. There’s nothing that’s off limits with this.
“If we see it’s the right thing to do we could joint venture with the housebuilders.”
Mendonca added that the retirement sector was another area the business could move into.
The minimum project taken on by Grosvenor caters for around 1,000 homes, but ideally it prefers sites for up to 5,000 new homes where the business can bring to bear its expertise in placemaking and community building.
When looking at opportunities Grosvenor’s strategic land team led by director of development Alex Robinson looks at the area’s economic growth potential, its transport infrastructure, as well as whether it is the right type of land for development and could be turned into an economic hub rather than just housing.
The team also spends time getting to know local areas, authorities, land owners and agents to identify future communities. This will be key for Grosvenor’s plans to substantially upscale its strategic land business over the next few years after expanding it from 2,100 in summer 2017 to more than 9,000 today.
Grosvenor’s strategic land plays in the South East
TRUMPINGTON MEADOWS, CAMBRIDGE
■ Joint venture between Grosvenor and the Universities Superannuation Scheme which acquired the 225 acre site 3.5 miles from Cambridge city centre in 2004.
■ 1,200 homes, of which 800 have been built by Barratt so far. The final phase is expected to complete next year.
■ Includes a primary school, play area, community facilities and shops and a 145 acre country park.
■ The first residents arrived in May 2012. Since then more than 400 families have moved in.
BARTON PARK, OXFORDSHIRE
■ Partnership between Grosvenor and Oxford City Council.
■ Outline planning was secured in 2013 for the 94 acre site to the north-east of Oxford for up to 885 homes, alongside a primary school, food store, community hub and a linear park.
■ First phase of 237 homes is being delivered by housebuilder Hill.
■ In March 2016, Barton Park was awarded NHS England’s Healthy New Town status.
NORTH UTTLESFORD GARDEN COMMUNITY, GREAT CHESTERFORD
■ Grosvenor is the development partner for a group of landowners.
■ The scheme on the north-eastern edge of Essex is expected to include up to 5,000 homes, primary schools, a secondary school, parks, allotments, orchards, a sports hub, transport link, as well a local centre with retail, employment and community facilities.
OXFORD COTSWOLDS GARDEN CITY, OXFORDSHIRE
■ Grosvenor is delivery partner for a number of landowners and in collaboration with West Oxfordshire District Council for one of the 14 garden villages supported by Homes England.
■ Sited to the north of the A40 near Eynsham, the garden village will deliver around 2,200 homes, with community facilities and employment opportunities.
■ A masterplan and outline planning application are expected to be submitted in 2019.
■ The first homes are expected to be completed in 2021-22.