John Lewis pushes ahead with £500m build-to-rent scheme

30th June 2023 | Jack Oliver

The John Lewis Partnership has submitted its first planning applications for two build-to-rent sites at West Ealing and Bromley.

In December of last year, the group announced a £500m joint venture with global investment company Abrdn to deliver 1,000 homes.

Initial plans for a vacant warehouse in Reading are also expected to be brought forward later in the year.

The partnership said the proposed developments show a “long-term commitment to raise standards in rental homes in these communities”, where it has a presence through its Waitrose stores.

The proposals outline the building of 428 new homes in West Ealing and 353 in Bromley, which John Lewis said would be affordable and targeted at public sector workers such as nurses or teachers.

It has a target of 35% affordable housing, with the 2022 national average for new homes in England currently 11.4%, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities.

The group said that through public consultations, it had worked with local communities, councillors and other groups to understand what is needed from housing in their areas.

“Our approach to rental property aligns with our values of providing quality, service, sustainability while bringing something valuable to local communities”, John Lewis said.

Public piazzas are set to be at the heart of each development, surrounded by “high quality” homes and public spaces. A new flagship Waitrose shop and café are also set to be included at each location as well as improved access for pedestrians and cyclists.

Other proposed features include resident lounges and dining areas, as well as roof gardens, flexible work spaces and gyms. John Lewis said that residents would have options for short and long-term tenure and that the homes would be furnished by the retailer.

Later this year, the group also plans to take over management services on three existing build-to-rent sites across the UK. While these are not John Lewis-owned, the group said the move will help the company understand the needs of residents.

The proposals have not come without pushback, however. In March, the leader of Ealing Council, Labour’s Peter Mason, accused John Lewis of “bullying” and highlighted what he called “arrogance”.


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