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Doubling Women Pioneer’s impact

Specialist housing association Women’s Pioneer Housing is redeveloping a key site on Wood Lane, White City, in an innovative partnership that will deliver a substantial new residential building, as well as 80 new homes for WPH residents, more than doubling the number currently on site. Women’s Pioneer provides affordable housing for women.

The 0.54 acre site currently consists of 36 homes and the housing association’s head office. The partnership will see Women’s Pioneer’s development partners, HUB and Bridges, deliver a mixed tenure development with a substantial new residential building on the site, plus 80 new homes and a new office HQ for WPH. This will be Women Pioneer’s largest redevelopment project to date, and one they will complete without grant or loan funding.

Denise Fowler, CEO of Women’s Pioneer Housing, said: “It’s nearly a century after Women’s Pioneer Housing was founded, and women are still facing economic disadvantage in finding suitable housing at reasonable rents. We are excited to work with HUB and Bridges in achieving our vision, by offering around 80 new safe, secure affordable homes, designed for women. This scheme will provide much needed housing for a wide range of women, providing security for those who need the flats long term and a springboard for those whose incomes rise as they progress in their careers.”

The Wood Lane project arose from a desire to increase the numbers of homes we are able to provide for women. We started by looking at the development potential of properties we already owned. We found properties which we could extend or repurpose to create more homes, without needing to access grant, using a funding model which maximised the market rented value of our heritage stock .

In looking at a 1920’s block adjacent to our offices in Wood Lane, we discovered that potential existed to create a significantly greater number of homes through demolishing this building and our offices and rebuilding new accommodation.

Working with our lawyers and commercial advisors, we identified a ‘land for flats’ model, to significantly reduced the risks relating to design ,planning and construction to levels we felt were manageable. This means, we grant our development partner a lease of part of the site, and in return they will build us accommodation at no cost, on another part of the site.

We have undertaken a rigorous OJEU compliant procurement process, which has meant that we had to carefully define the outcomes from the project. Our costs associated with the procurement of the project and the subsequent oversight as the scheme progresses are to be reimbursed by the developer under the contract with them.

We are now in contract with developer Hub and their funder, Bridges Fund Management and are working collaboratively with them to progress the design and planning application to provide us with around 80 one bedroom homes of 50m2 as well as a new head office building. On an adjoining part of the site, Hub are intending to provide co-living accommodation aimed at young professionals in the early years of their careers, who might otherwise be lost to the local area due to the high costs of accommodation.

We will be working with Hub to broaden our current resident engagement activities into an extensive programme of engagement with residents and other stakeholders

Legal advice : Trowers and Hamlins LLP

Commercial advisors: Gerald Eve

Partners: Squarestone Hub/Bridges Fund Management


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