A substantial portion of land at Ebbsfleet garden city has been sold to housebuilder Henley Camland in a multi-million pound agreement, the company has confirmed.
Two weeks after Kent Business reported the deal was believed to have been struck, the company, which specialises in building homes, has announced it has agreed to purchase around two-thirds of the Eastern Quarry at Ebbsfleet, one of the UK’s largest residential schemes, from Land Securities.
The site has outline planning permission for 6,250 homes over three main ‘villages’ situated across 500 acres of former quarry land.
The sale value of all the properties is forecast at around £1.5 billion, and Henley Camland agreed to buy up two of the villages, with plans for around 4,700 homes.
Chancellor George Osborne outlined in 2014 his hopes for a 15,000-home garden city at Ebbsfleet, and announced £310 million of funding for the project in last November’s autumn statement.
"We have complete confidence in the site’s potential, and look forward to building on the good work that Land Securities has already carried out...”
Henley Camland only formed in June 2015 in a joint venture between the Henley private equity group and infrastructure firm Camland Projects. This is the company’s first acquisition.
Ian Rickwood, chief executive of Henley, said: “This landmark first acquisition is a real statement of our intent, and paves the way for us to work towards our long-term goal of creating 20,000 lots across the UK and contributing in the effort to help fix Britain’s chronic housing shortage.
“With Camland having worked in an advisory role for the last four years at Eastern Quarry, we have complete confidence in the site’s potential, and look forward to building on the good work that Land Securities has already carried out.”
The firm will be investing around £200 million, and carrying out significant infrastructure works to the remainder of the quarry, including levelling land, developing roads and creating a new lake.
It will also be delivering shops, leisure and community facilities, including two primary schools and a secondary school.
Paul Spooner, interim chief executive of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, said: “We welcome our new partners.
“With this new commitment and their planned investment, we will see further evidence of a step up in the pace of delivery of new homes and amenities.”
“With this new commitment and their planned investment, we will see further evidence of a step up in the pace of delivery of new homes and amenities...” - Paul Spooner, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
Land Securities has already agreed contracts with a raft of housebuilders including Ward Homes, Persimmon, Charles Church, David Wilson and Taylor Wimpey taking the total number of committed homes to 1,550 of which 375 are affordable.
However, construction of more than 400 dwellings at Castle Hill, one of the villages planned for Ebbsfleet, has been delayed.
Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) chief planning officer Tracey Coleman confirmed that some developers were now four months behind schedule at a board meeting at Springhead Parkway, Northfleet, last week.
The setback is due to the need for further ground testing at the site. Work had been due to start this summer.
It is hoped that Castle Hill will eventually house 1,500 of the garden city’s 15,000 homes.
There was better news regarding Springhead Park, with Countryside due to start work on 123 properties by the end of the month.
Meetings are also taking place between the EDC and Redrow Homes regarding a pub, restaurant and hotel for Ebbsfleet Green.
The proposals will go before a planning committee in the coming weeks.