News | Land & Development | Residential Development Consultancy

Social Capital Partners appoints Allsop and Colliers to find lessee and funder for innovative specialist accommodation scheme

  • Specialist housing that addresses the stark local authority affordable accommodation crisis
  • Homes will remain affordable housing in perpetuity
  • SCP plans to deliver more schemes to provide affordable homes for Londoners

Social Capital Partners, a socially conscious development company dedicated to challenging the housing crisis, has appointed leading property consultancies Allsop and Colliers to secure a lessee and a forward funder for an innovative specialist housing development in Croydon.

The Old Dairy site at Bensham Lane in the London Borough of Croydon will deliver 115 homes, 100% of which will be at affordable rents. The scheme, which has a gross development value of approximately £40 million, is a specialist accommodation development that offers best-in-class exemplar design and specification to meet the needs of the defined user groups which include homeless families and individuals or those at risk of homelessness.

The Old Dairy scheme will be let to a registered affordable housing provider and will provide an innovative and sustainable housing solution for forward funding partners. On maturation of the long lease, the lessee will have the option of purchasing the scheme for a nominal value and the S106 agreement stipulates that the homes remain affordable housing in perpetuity.

The specialist scheme aims to deliver significant benefits for local authorities, offering significant savings to councils through reductions in their spend on temporary accommodation, while also delivering affordable specialist accommodation to those at risk of homelessness. While it is an intermediate housing project, there is no restriction on the length of time residents can stay.

Social Capital Partners, set up in 2019 by Shane O’Neill and Christopher Stephens with a combined 40 years’ experience in planning, development, financing, and advisory, is a new breed of ESG-driven developer that is aiming to tackle London’s housing crisis through innovative solutions. Social Capital Partners’ developments, of which The Old Dairy is the first of its kind, seek to create permanently affordable homes and communities in order to reduce the impact of homelessness on individuals, as well as creating a more sustainable solution for local authorities – against a backdrop of London councils spending more than £1.25 billion a year on temporary accommodation.

Only 52% of the government’s affordable homes target was met in 2022, according to government figures, while there has been a 13% increase in the number of individuals in temporary accommodation in London since 2018 according to Crisis.

Andrew Boyd, partner and head of residential transactional and living markets at Allsop, said: “Social Capital Partners has alighted on a solution that will make a tangible impact on the housing crisis in London. These new homes – built to the highest standards and as a permanently affordable solution – are a win-win for the individuals and families and registered providers, reducing the authority’s LHA costs while bringing in affordable rental income. Given the rise of impact investing, these affordable homes that offer regeneration opportunities to local communities will be in strong demand from institutional investors looking to deliver social benefits as well as benefitting from stable returns.”

Shane O’Neill, co-founder and principal of Social Capital Partners, said: “What we’re offering at The Old Dairy, which will be replicated at sites across London, is the highest quality homes let at affordable rents to those who need them most. We can deliver self-financing schemes where the asset reverts to council ownership on expiry of the lease, ensuring the council retains these homes in perpetuity.

“Given the current economic headwinds, solutions like The Old Dairy offer innovative opportunities for joint ventures and specifically councils seeking to deliver viable housing solutions to complement their S106 affordable housing and regeneration projects where the demand is c 10,000 units per London Borough in terms of waiting lists for accommodation. In the New London Plan, there is now a clear planning pathway for specialist housing which is aligned to the GLA Capital Funding guide for Specialist and Supported Housing, making now the right time to launch this product to market and advocate for its widespread adoption to help tackle the housing crisis.”

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