Case Study

Developing a framework for future housing growth

31st March 2017

Developing a framework for future housing growth

For property specialist, Tatton Hall Homes, the development of a former special school site in Wolverhampton  required a credible and trusted legal partner that could offer a range of specialist skills.

"Broadleaf Gardens is a 2.45 acre plot on the site of the former Penn Fields School in the Bradmore area of Wolverhampton," explains Richard Carroll, Operations Director at Tatton Hall Homes. "The development was particularly challenging because it involved different kinds of funding. This included the Builders Finance Fund, managed by the government's Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and the Housing Growth Partnership, a joint venture between the HCA and the Lloyds Bank group, supported by the government to unlock the delivery of housing.

"Broadleaf Gardens is the only development in the Wolverhampton area that has accessed funding from the HCA in this way and it's great to be one of the forerunners."

Given such a unique proposition, Tatton Hall Homes was keen to work with a legal partner that could offer the breadth of skills and experience to meet the range of issues that they would face in trying to work towards a successful completion of the development.

"We had been working with Higgs & Sons for a number of years. Gurvinder Kehel from the Residential Property team had led all our plot sales for the past three years, so we already had a close relationship with the firm."

The Builders Finance Fund is administered by the HCA (the government's national housing, land and regeneration agency). It has allocated up to £3 billion aimed at helping to accelerate small to medium sized housing developments of between five and 250 units.

"There were several elements that needed to sit together to secure the particular requirements of the funding process, and specialist input across all aspects of the development project was key to its success" explains Claire Hamlin an Associate in Higgs' Commercial Property team.

"Being able to bring expertise from our Banking and Corporate specialists enabled us to offer a comprehensive service which not only helped to secure this particular deal, but it has helped to lay the foundations for accessing these funds again in the future."

The negotiations to access the joint funding took place throughout 2016 and although the process was complex, involving several legal specialisms, Richard believes the benefits will continue beyond this particular deal.

"The Builders Finance Fund and the HCA's successor to this the Home Funding Fund has up to £3billion to lend to support developments such as Broadleaf Gardens and we now have a framework through which we are in a much stronger position to put forward additional applications.

"It was quite an investment in terms of time, but Higgs' advisers worked extremely hard alongside our own specialist accountant to drive through this application and lay the foundations for future growth. Indeed we are already working on a project with Claire which has directly benefited from our Broadleaf Gardens experience."

The development of the Penn Fields School site in Bradmore is already well on the way to completion. The site comprising 37 properties made up of a range of units from four bedroom detached properties through to two bedroom flats, also includes affordable housing provision to be delivered in conjunction with the Wrekin Housing Trust. The site will contribute towards Wolverhampton City Council's target of 13,400 new homes in the city between 2006 - 2026.

Alongside Claire Hamlin, the Higgs legal team was made up of Damian Beard and Geoff Kettle from Higgs' Corporate team who specialise in banking and corporate matters. Dinah Patel, Higgs' Planning and Highways expert also provided specialist planning advice.

Claire concludes: 

"Acting in partnership enabled us to develop a framework which will provide a model of working to support Tatton Hall Homes' growth long into the future. We are so pleased to be part of their ongoing success."

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