Housebuilder and housing association agree deal for 365-acre site in Swindon

A joint venture involving housebuilder Countryside and 60,000-home housing association Sovereign has acquired a site to deliver 2,500 homes.

The JV has exchanged contracts with Ainscough Strategic Land to purchase 365-acre Lotmead Farm, in Swindon.

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The Lotmead Farm development plans

The site has outline planning permission for 2,500 new homes, of which 30% are affordable and will be managed by Sovereign. The scheme also includes 400 homes for private rent.

The development will also include the creation of two primary schools, local centres, nurseries, retail and commercial space.

Iain McPherson, group chief executive, Countryside, commented: “This is a landmark deal for us as we continue our rapid growth in the south west and we are delighted to be working in a strategic joint-venture partnership with Sovereign on delivering a distinctive, diverse and sustainable community.”

Tom Titherington, chief investment and development officer at Sovereign Housing Association said: “The development in Lotmead fits perfectly with our strategy of working with other like-minded developers to create delightful new places where we know that the properties, we provide to our customers will be fit for the future. Here we are able to increase the amount of affordable new homes over and above the section106 by nearly 50% through utilising the Homes England Partnership funds.”

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Sovereign has a current development pipeline of 7,175 homes. It revealed last week however that it has so far only completed 53% of its planned development programme for the first six months 2020/21, citing issues with availability of materials and labour.

Countryside is implementing a shift in strategy to focus on its £600m-turnover partnerships business. The firm announced in July it is winding down its direct housebuilding arm.