Need to know: Deal brings Japanese housebuilder to UK

Sekisui House invests in UK developer Urban Splash's modular housing business, with government agency Homes England backing the union.

Urban Splash's House business delivers a range of modular houses (shown) and apartments (PIC Urban Splash)
Urban Splash's House business delivers a range of modular houses (shown) and apartments (PIC Urban Splash)

Japanese housebuilder Sekisui House is set to enter the UK market and boost offsite building, after signing a deal with developer Urban Splash and government agency Homes England. The deal sees Urban Splash’s House modular housing business secure £22 million of investment from Sekisui and £30 million of equity and debt funding from the government’s home building fund, administered through Homes England. Entrepreneur Noel McKee has also taken an incremental stake of around 5 per cent. The deal, which was facilitated by property consultant JLL, paves the way for large-scale delivery of offsite-manufactured housing. Yoshihiro Nakai, president and representative director of Sekisui House said, "Our technology and know-how can help resolve pressing social issues in the UK, and I want to see us play our part effective immediately."

Investor Legal & General is aiming to deliver more than 3,000 homes for older people over the next five years through its newly launched Guild Living business. It has established the developer and operator of urban later living communities in partnership with a team of experts in design, development and wellness, following on from its Inspired Villages Group, which also provides age-specific accommodation. The business launches with two sites, in Bath city centre and Epsom, Surrey. Schemes typically will comprise around 200 apartments, together with restaurant, physiotherapy gym and pool, consultancy rooms for GP surgeries, children’s nursery and retail space, with all amenities being open to the local community. Epsom’s scheme will also include key worker units and transitional care suites, available to the NHS as required.

Also this week, Legal & General announced that it has exchanged contracts on two adjacent sites in west London, which together could accommodate 1,000 homes. It plans to deliver its largest build to rent (BTR) scheme on the combined sites in Wandsworth, which have full planning consent for a development incorporating 35 per cent affordable housing. The scheme has been acquired by the Legal & General BTR Fund, PGGM and Legal & General Capital.

Housing association Network Homes has acquired land at Northwick Park Hospital in Brent, north west London, to help kickstart plans to regenerate the area. The housing provider acquired the land from the London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH) and is working with the trust, Brent Council and University of Westminster to develop proposals for a scheme including homes, a hospital, space for education and employment, improved infrastructure and public space. Outline proposals for the site masterplan include delivery of around 1,300 homes on land owned by Network Homes. A detailed planning application for the first phase of the development is expected to be submitted at the end of the year.

Housing association Gentoo Group plans to invest £417 million in improving its homes and bringing 1,100 rented and new homes for sale to market over the next five years. Its new business plan, which extends to 2024, includes plans to invest £117 million and provide an additional 900 homes for affordable rent in Sunderland, via new build and existing homes. Its commercial arm, Gentoo Homes, is also planning to build more than 200 homes for sale a year, with the aim of generating an annual profit of around £4 million to support the affordable housing plan.

Housing association Midland Heart and housebuilder Countryside are to partner to develop 1,000 homes across the Midlands over three years. The homes – around a third of which are already in planning or development stages - will be a mix of affordable sale and rented homes.

A start-up business has worked with Imperial College London to develop panels that can purify urban air, which are set to be piloted in an installation on the latter’s campus in White City, west London. Arborea’s Solar Leaf panel-like structures are filled with bio-organisms, such as micro-algae, which can remove carbon dioxide and generate oxygen. The panels can be installed on buildings and other structures, such as bus shelters.

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