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L&Q adds land for 42,000 homes with £505m acquisition

Housing association L&Q has bought Gallagher Estates for more than £500m.

The acquisition gives L&Q plots of land for 42,500 new homes, mainly in the South and the Midlands.

It follows L&Q’s merger with East Thames and a £2.6bn refinancing package.

The group has plans to build 100,000 new homes.

Warwick-based Gallagher Estates will become a wholly owned subsidiary of L&Q, and will continue to be run by the current management team.

L&Q chief executive David Montague said: “Through this deal L&Q will unlock land for development across a wider range of tenures, and speed up the delivery of new homes through our ability to invest over the long term.

“It will also add the significant skills and expertise of one of the UK’s leading strategic land companies, and allow L&Q to take a lead role in housing delivery on a regional basis, while generating significant resources for reinvestment into new affordable housing.”

The acquisition does not include Gallagher Estates chairman Tony Gallagher’s commercial and retail property development and investment activities.

In November 2016 L&Q agreed to forward-fund a £70m mixed-use redevelopment in Acton.

The housing association and developer bought the former Oaks shopping centre in west London (pictured), which will provide 178 apartments and 42,000 sq ft of retail space.

‘Adult conversation’ needed on green belt 

David Montague today backed calls for more green belt development.

He told the BBC: “If you look at what we’re doing here in Barking Riverside [in east London], we’re building 11,000 new homes on brown field land, and of course it makes sense to prioritise brown field land.”

“But if you go just a few miles up the road to Chelmsford in Essex, we are working there on a green field site with a Tory council with the support of the local people to produce a 4,000-home new town.

“The key thing is that we need an adult conversation about where we’re going to build these homes.

“The alternative is that we just deal with the consequences of not building enough homes and that means more people in temporary accommodation, more people living on the streets, more people not about to afford to buy a home of their own, it means rising waiting lists for rising housing benefit bills.”

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