10 Jun 2022

The John Lewis Partnership has revealed the first three locations where it will build new rental homes.

The properties “would offer the trust, quality and service that people expect from John Lewis” according to a statement from the store. John Lewis will act as both developer and then property manager. 

The three proposed sites include building over Waitrose shops in Bromley and West Ealing in Greater London, as well as replacing a vacant John Lewis warehouse in Reading. 

The statement continues: “Local people in Bromley and West Ealing will be invited to several rounds of public consultation over the coming months to discuss the principle of helping to deliver much-needed homes through the redevelopment of the Waitrose stores, which would also be significantly improved as part of the proposals. 

Detailed designs will not be shown until later in the year to give residents the opportunity to shape the plans at this early stage. Subject to the feedback received during these consultations, our intention would be to submit planning applications for Bromley and West Ealing next year. A period of public consultation for Mill Lane, Reading, will take place later this year.“

It’s understood that tenants would have options for short and long-term tenures.

Nina Bhatia, executive director for strategy and commercial development at the John Lewis Partnership, says: “Everything people love about our brand –  quality, trust and service – we want to bring to the experience of renting a home with us. Our role as developer and operator, as well as an already established local business and employer, signals our ambition to bring long-term value to each of these communities. Helping to create homes has always been at the heart of what we do and we now have a unique opportunity to use our expertise and skills in new ways to deliver much-needed new housing.”  

It was in summer 2021 that John Lewis first announced that it would build and furnish private rental properties in a bid to shore up its flagging retail reputation and income.

John Lewis has already said that food delivery options will exist for its tenants, from the closest Waitrose branches. The company, which has a long term target to secure 40 per cent of its annual income from non-retail activities, is reported to be considering offering staff discounted rents if they take tenancies.

The three locations are the first sites to be announced after the company reiterated its target to deliver 10,000 homes in the next 10 years – 5,000 of these will come from schemes on the Partnership’s own property portfolio. 

Moving into the rental homes market is part of the firm’s long-term plan for 40 per cent of profits to come from outside of retail by 2030. 

Link to original article

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