Last edited 28 Sep 2016

U and I submit planning applications for 1,000 build to rent units

On 29 September 2016, U+I, the mixed-use property regeneration specialist, announced that planning applications had been submitted to develop 1,000 mid-market build to rent residential units as part of regeneration projects in Ashford, Maidstone, Swanley and Woking.


The size of the UK’s rental market was recently valued at £1.29 trillion, and is expected to account for 22% of the UK’s housing market by 2025. The new projects will provide high-quality accommodation, retail and leisure facilities that draw inspiration from the character and history of each local area:

  • In Ashford, U+I is bringing forward a development on a six acre site, owned by the Homes and Communities Agency, opposite Ashford International train station. The development will consist of 200 residential units, a 120-bed hotel, an Aldi food store, a new brewery and visitor centre for local wine and beer maker, Chapel Down and flexible retail and commercial space. Designed by RIBA award-winning Kent architect and interior designer, Guy Hollaway Architects, construction could start in early 2017.
  • The site in Maidstone has two phases with planning consent already obtained to develop 192 residential units in the first phase. The second phase will develop 300 residential units, the majority of which will be delivered as private rental homes. Designed by Guy Hollaway Architects, the development will transform a gateway site into a new residential community with a 17-storey landmark building at its heart.
  • In Swanley, an application was submitted in July 2016 to extend and enhance Swanley Square shopping centre, with the aim of revitalising the town centre, improving the retail offer and attracting more investment and leisure spend. This will include 340 residential units, 46,780 sq. ft. of new commercial and retail, restaurants, shops, new office space and a new car park. The Swanley town centre project is designed by HLM Architects.
  • In Woking, U+I has submitted a planning application to redevelop Elizabeth House, a vacant 1980’s office building into 241 new homes, 5,700 sq. ft. of offices, small retail and start up units, restaurants and cafes alongside beautifully landscaped communal areas. The redevelopment will provide much needed affordable workspace for Woking’s start up and entrepreneurial community as well as active and vibrant ground floor retail spaces. The architects are RTKL, a renowned build to rent specialist.

Richard Upton, Deputy CEO of U+I, said: “We are making good progress at each of these sites, all located within the London City Region “Huburbs” and within an hour’s commute of central London. The plans submitted prioritise the development of high quality, mid-market homes with easy access to the centre of London in locations where housing demand continues to grow. We are committed to delivering vibrant, mixed-use places that take their inspiration from their local areas and meet the needs of each community. We will create affordable, desirable places people can truly enjoy – not just a place to sleep or commute from, but a place to live and thrive.

Home ownership is no longer the be-all and end-all – increasingly, a new generation is choosing to rent and they want high quality and affordable accommodation to match their lifestyle and aspirations. This generation has high expectations - meeting these expectations and delivering great new homes for rent is a key part of our offer as a business.”

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