Grosvenor outlines major build-to-rent play in Bermondsey

London Great Estate backs "generation rent" with its £500m biscuit factory draft masterplan

Grosvenor, the 340-year-old company which owns much of Mayfair, has outlined a £500m scheme to capitalise on London’s expanding private rented sector; the firm plans to deliver 1,500 new rental homes on a former biscuit factory site in Bermondsey in what it’s calling “one of the capital’s largest build to rent developments.”

The draft masterplan for the 12 acre site is a “response to the generational shift to renting in London”, according to a press statement.

Grosvenor acquired the majority of the Peek Frean Biscuit Factory on Clements Road, along with an adjoining former Lewisham and Southwark College campus site on Drummond Road, back in 2013 (with planning for 800 homes already in place), and has been consulting on what to do with it since 2015.

Designed by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, these latest plans include a new 600-place secondary school, over 110,000 square feet of new public spaces, almost 20,000 square feet of new playspace, around 85,000 square feet of ground floor retail, leisure and commercial space – and those 1,500 resi units. The Victorian biscuit factory building itself – currently operated as flexible office space by Workspace Group – will be retained.

The idea is for Grosvenor to manage all the residential units “for the long term”, offering some at discounted market rents, with a wider ambition “to help create one of London’s greatest neighbourhoods for people of mixed incomes, backgrounds and life stages”.

Craig McWilliam, Chief Executive of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said: “London’s housing shortage is too often creating polarised outcomes, with homes for the few who can afford to buy them, and those allocated social rented accommodation. We are sharing our ambitions in Bermondsey to meet the needs of many on low and middle incomes who are locked out of London’s housing market.

“We want to help create one of London’s greatest neighbourhoods for people of mixed incomes, backgrounds and life stages. We want to manage these rental homes for the long term, responding to changing needs and extending Bermondsey’s rich history at the heart of a growing, global city.”

A public consultation on the project is now open, and can be viewed online here