ADD394 Webbs Industrial Site, Waltham Forest – Legal Spend

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD394
Date signed: 
23 February 2016
Decision by: 
Simon Powell, Assistant Director of Strategic Projects and Property

Executive summary

This is a request for approval to expend up to £20,000 on external legal support to facilitate the completion of the acquisition of the site known as Webbs Industrial Site within the Waltham Forest Housing Zone.  

 

Decision

That the Assistant Director approves expenditure of up to £20,000 for the legal work associated with the acquisition of the Webbs Industrial Site (to be met from the Housing Zones budget).   

 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

This request relates to the proposed legal work required for the acquisition of this site from its current owner the Education Funding Authority (EFA) to GLAP.  The site will eventually be disposed using the London Development Panel (LDP) to assist in the delivery of new and additional homes within the Waltham Forest Housing Zone.  The LDP disposal will be under a separate legal instruction and appropriate budgetary requirements will be sought

The site is a former industrial site that comprises two vacant contiguous sites at 108 Blackhorse Lane and 47 Sutherland Road in Walthamstow, and is approximately 1.67 hectares in size.  

The Mayor’s Housing Strategy sets out plans to create a number of Housing Zones to boost housing supply in London, and a range of measures to be used in the Housing Zones to unlock and accelerate housing delivery and build more homes that are affordable to working Londoners. The Mayor’s Housing Zone Prospectus launched in June 2014, proposed the delivery of 20 Housing Zones across London which over ten years should deliver 50,000 homes.

The London Borough of Waltham Forest was awarded Housing Zone status in March 2015 for the Blackhorse Road area. As part of the proposal, sites were identified in the centre of the Housing Zone to bring forward residential mixed use development. Following Challenge Panel review and Housing Investment Group (HIG) it was proposed that the Greater London Authority (GLA) work with the Borough to acquire these sites and procure them through the London Development Panel (LDP).

On 14 October 2015 Housing Investment Group (HIG) endorsed the principal to seek to acquire sites in Waltham Forest though GLAP for procurement via the LDP at a later date. This included proposals to enter into discussions on adjacent sites, and to seek a negotiated value for purchase, subject to further approval via HIG and IPB in line with the scheme of delegation.

A paper was submitted to the Investment Panel Board (IPB) on 29 October 2015 which recommended the Mayor putting GLAP in funds to a acquire a site within the Waltham Forest Housing Zone as a first step. The paper also noted HIG’s agreement to enter into negotiations on adjacent sites in order to agree a purchase value subject to further approval via HIG and IPB in line with the scheme of delegation.

This paper seeks agreement to appoint Eversheds LLP to a maximum of £20,000 to act on GLAP’s behalf to provide external legal services for the acquisition of the Webbs Industrial site. 
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

The acquisition of this site which will allow, at a later date release of the site to the LDP for the development of new homes, employment and retail spaces will deliver much needed new homes in the area, and support the regeneration of the area.

 

Equality comments

We have considered the impact of the equality considerations, and have included that, being financial in nature there is no impact on those with protected characteristics.  

 

Other considerations

As with any land purchase, there is the risk that land value may go down as well as up. Efforts will be taken to dispose of the site speedily and efficiently to minimise any exposure to that risk, and when disposal takes place all efforts will be made to ensure the full value of expenditure by GLAP (including holding and ancillary costs) will be recouped.   

 

Financial comments

5.1    The expenditure of up to £20,000 on Legal costs to enable the acquisition of the land known as
Webbs Industrial Site will be funded from the existing Housing Zones budget (revenue? Needs to say) and will all be expended in 2015/16 financial year. Any changes to this proposal, including the requirement of additional funds, will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision making process.
 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

7.1    The next steps following approval of this decision are summarised below. The timescales are based on
estimates and are subject to negotiation with the vendor of the site.   
 

Activity

Timeline

Following approval of this decision TFL legal will instruct Eversheds LLP to commence the legal process for the site purchase.  

February 2016

Announcement [if applicable]

N/A

Delivery Start Date [for project proposals]

January 2016

Due diligence to be carried out by Eversheds LLP

February 2016

Sale contract agreed between GLAP and the Education Funding Authority

February 2016

Exchange and completion dates agreed between both parties

February 2016

Site purchase completion

March 2016

Delivery End Date

March 2016

Project Closure

April 2016