Countryside and DoE sign agreement for Ark Soane mixed-use development in Acton, west London
Countryside, the UK’s leading mixed-tenure developer, has signed an agreement with the Department of Education to deliver Ark Soane, a mixed-use development in Ealing, West London, comprising a new 1,200-pupil secondary school, Ark Soane Academy, and 116 high-quality homes.
Following a public procurement process, Countryside has been selected by LocatED, an Arms-Length Body to the Department for Education, to deliver this multi-million-pound development. A large proportion of the new homes is being constructed for the Greater London joint venture between Sigma Capital Group plc, the build-to-rent specialist, and its partner, EQT Exeter, part of global investment firm, EQT, and will be for the private rental market. Once constructed, these 92 apartments will be let and managed by Sigma Capital Group plc, under the ‘Simple Life London’ rental brand. Of the remaining homes in the new development, 21 will be affordable, managed by Network Homes, and three will be for open market sale by Countryside.
The new homes will be located close to The Woodlands Park as well as Acton High Street and will enjoy excellent transport links. A sustainable energy centre utilising a Ground Source Heat Pump is also being delivered as part of the development.
Countryside has entered into a £52m design and build contract with Jerram Falkus Construction to deliver all construction works associated with the school and residential development. Full planning permission has been secured, and the new Ark Soane Academy is due to open by September 2022.
Designed by Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects, the Ark Soane mixed-use development will see the secondary school occupying the first three floors of the 6 to 12-storey building, with 113 apartments located above this, in addition to three separate townhouses on the site.
Ark Soane Academy will be connected to a new nearby sixth form college, and will use the surrounding grounds, which include a multi-use games area, sports hall and playgrounds.
Daniel King, Managing Director, Partnerships West London & Thames Valley, Countryside, said: “We are excited to get started on this innovative project which will not only deliver a state-of-the-art new school, but also deliver much-needed new homes in Acton. Drawing on over 30 years of experience of working in partnership to deliver major regeneration schemes across the UK, we’re looking forward to bringing Ark Soane Academy to life with the Department for Education, Sigma Capital, EQT Exeter, Network Homes and Jerram Falkus Construction.”
Steven Brewster, Acquisitions Director, Sigma Capital Group plc, said: “We’re delighted to be part of this fantastic new development. It will add 92 homes to our growing portfolio of build-to-rent homes in Greater London with our JV partner, EQT Exeter. We have been working in partnership with Countryside for over 10 years across other parts of the UK, delivering new homes and regenerating local areas. We’re really excited to be bringing the success we’ve experienced in the regions to the London market and look forward to bringing our formula of high-quality homes, matched by award-winning customer care, to renters in Acton.”
David Gooch, Network Homes Executive Director for Development, said: “We’re really pleased to be supporting the delivery of much-needed affordable homes at this development which will see a fantastic educational facility provided at Ark Soane. Network will be delivering 12 properties for London Affordable Rent and nine for London Living Rent, an excellent scheme helping people to save for a deposit to buy their own home.”
William Jerram, Joint Managing Director, Jerram Falkus Construction Ltd, added: "We are delighted to be working with Countryside and LocatED to deliver this exciting scheme. We thank our design team, led by Pollard Thomas Edwards, together with Max Fordham, Price and Myers, Montague Evans and Outerspace. To ensure its success, we have worked very closely to redesign the external envelope to comply with the latest 'B' regulations” and simultaneously progress the design and programme to deliver the School for the 2022 academic year. It involved a lot of commitment and work at risk, with the reward of starting works in February 2021.”