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John Lewis tells next Government to take lead on build-to-rent

John Lewis store

John Lewis has urged future governments to develop a clear national strategy around the need for build-to-rent developments.

The retailer – which is trying to get three BTR schemes off the ground - believes such a strategy should be aligned with other major infrastructure projects to capitalise on public investments into green energy networks or transport hubs such as Crossrail or HS2.

Writing in The Times, Katherine Russell, (pictured) director of build-to-rent at John Lewis Partnership, says its West Ealing scheme - including 428 homes and a new Waitrose - is just a short walk from the new Crossrail station.

“Having spent £19 billion on the Elizabeth Line, surely it makes sense to maximise its use and reduce commuting times by building densely around it? A national strategy should ensure every local plan mandates a quota of build-to-rent housing.”

Broader benefits

Russell says brownfield development zones, where height, use and other elements can be pre-agreed, would create greater certainty that policy-compliant schemes are assessed on their merits and their broader benefits for the greater good. “These solutions have been successfully used across the US and could help avoid lengthy planning appeals,” she adds.

Brownfield sites

John Lewis wants to make better use of centrally located brownfield sites and approves of Asda’s latest plans for a mixed-use redevelopment at its ten-acre Park Royal site in North West London. The retailer has partnered with Barratt London to build up to 1,500 new homes there, which is currently home to its Park Royal Superstore. About 500 of these will be affordable.

Last year, John Lewis came up against local opposition to its plans for large developments in West Ealing and Bromley. It has struck a £500 million deal with investment firm Abrdn to build 1,000 residential rental homes on three sites, including in Reading town centre.


Build to rent
Retail property