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Ebbsfleet Garden City: Homes England loans Henley Camland £74 million to kick-start building of more than 5,000 homes

By Ed McConnell

The government agency responsible for building more homes has signed a £74 million deal to prepare part of a proposed garden city for thousands more homes.

The funding from Homes England will pay for a range of infrastructure works, including earthworks to fill in a lake to prepare the land for the development of more than 5,000 new properties.

A total of 657 acres will be used to build up to 5,290 new homes — around a third of the total 15,000-home development — as well as around 180,000 sq ft of commercial space.

The Eastern Quarry at Ebbsfleet Garden City
The Eastern Quarry at Ebbsfleet Garden City

The loan to property developer Henley Camland will allow it to prepare land in the Eastern Quarry, which is already home to the growing Castle Hill development.

It announced it had purchased the remainder of the Eastern Quarry near Bluewater earlier this month.

The loan will also mean important services, such as a new secondary school, can be delivered much sooner than would have been possible previously. A fast track route through the site connecting Bluewater to Ebbsfleet International Station will also be created.

It follows the recent news that three house builders had secured a deal for land which could accommodate £1 billion of property.

Henley Camland has agreed land deals for 2,900 homes to be developed, 2,600 of which will be delivered by Countryside Properties and Clarion Housing Group, while Barratt Homes will build 300.

The deal is one of Homes England’s largest in the past year and is being made through the Home Building Fund, which helps unlock or accelerate the delivery of residential and mixed-use housing developments.

More than 1,000 of the homes at Ebbsfleet will be built by 2021, with the full scheme due to be completed over the next decade.

Nick Walkley, chief executive of Homes England, said: “At Homes England we’re using our land, finance and expertise to speed up the delivery of new homes. The vital infrastructure works that we’re funding in Ebbsfleet will bring forward the development of many new homes by around four years overall and, importantly, will mean many more homes can be built in the earlier phases of the development as a result of our support with the significant infrastructure costs.”

Ian Piper, chief executive of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation which oversees Ebbsfleet Garden City, said: “This from Homes England, when combined with the investments already made by Ebbsfleet Development Corporation in key utilities infrastructure, is key to delivering the new homes that are required to create our vision for the Garden City. It is a good example of public bodies working together to deliver great places”.

Ian Rickwood, CEO of Henley, which has secured the delivery of 2,900 homes through a series of simultaneous deals commented: “Following Homes England’s investment and our quick succession of deals with various housebuilers, £1bn worth of quality homes will be delivered at a time when the UK is in dire need of them. We’ve worked hard alongside our partners to unlock these homes, as well as the new senior school and remain committed to bringing forward more homes and infrastructure at Ebbsfleet Garden City.”

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