Land Securities has sold more of its land at Ebbsfleet Garden City to house builder Taylor Wimpey.
The flagship scheme in Kent, which was announced by George Osborne in his 2014 Budget speech, is designed to address Britain’s burgeoning housing shortage in the South East. But it is perceived to have stalled: of 15,000 new homes planned for this project, fewer than 390 have so far been built.
Taylor Wimpey has snapped up 539 residential plots at Castle Hill, joining Ward Homes and Persimmon, which in total are building 1,550 homes in this area of the Garden City, of which 375 are affordable.
Henley Camland, a developer that is adding infrastructure to the project, has also purchased a large chunk of Eastern Quarry, which makes up one of three main ‘villages’ of Ebsfleet Garden City.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: “We are delighted to be delivering new homes at Castle Hill, which will form an essential part of Ebbsfleet Garden City.
“We look forward to starting work on site early next year and playing our part in creating a thriving village community within this exciting new development.”
Eastern Quarry includes Castle Hill, and has a projected sale value for all residential units of £1.5bn. Land Securities has owned the brownfield land since 2001, which is 20 minutes’ train from London.
Henley Camland will invest £200m, adding in roads, and building schools and other community facilities. It is a partnership between UK private equity firm Henley Investments and infrastructure specialist Camland.
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.”
The chancellor announced the introduction of ‘garden suburbs’ in the most recent Budget, after his garden cities project was perceived to have stalled.
Paul Spooner, interim chief executive of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, said: “We are delighted to see a new investor and we welcome our new partners to the Garden City.
“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.
“This month we approved the first primary school for the area and two developers are now on site ready to deliver another 400 homes.
“We are working with developers and landowners to enable new development to be advanced, not just in Castle Hill, but throughout the whole Garden City, where we will have significant capital investment to deliver essential infrastructure.”