Developer takes risk for affordable housing success

Developer takes risk for affordable housing success
  • Bramble Estates takes on planning and demolition risk to make London site suitable for private sale and affordable homes, securing planning consent after previous failed attempts.
  • Paves way for latest private sale development for Horniman Housing Association.[1]

Residential property developer Bramble Estates has shown how to overcome the barrier of high land values when building affordable homes.[2]

The problem of high land values is particularly acute in the capital, and affordable housing has formed a central part of the recent London Mayoral Election campaigns.

On one site in south London, Bramble Estates took an innovative approach to succeed where previous developers had failed.

The former industrial site at Biggin Way in Upper Norwood, London SE19 sits within a prime residential area. A previous developer had tried to progress the site as a private development, but its high land value meant it would only be profitable if the affordable housing element of the site – required as part of its section 106 agreement – was reduced. Local planning authorities rejected this proposal.


Following this failed planning proposal, Bramble Estates agreed to purchase the site subject to gaining planning consent for a redesigned scheme. The developer also began working with Hexagon Housing Association and its private sale subsidiary Horniman, as their ability to develop both affordable and private housing provided the financial advantages necessary for the site to succeed.

To help Hexagon and Horniman obtain value for money, financial certainty and to minimise their risk on planning outcomes, Bramble took all of the risks associated with the planning application and sourced a contractor that could satisfy the client on grounds of quality, value and financial certainty.


The other barrier to Hexagon and Horniman was the risk of complications in carrying out the demolition, due to the fact that a large part of the existing buildings extended to the boundary of neighbouring gardens.

Bramble Estates director Brian Culank says: “To enable us to make this scheme succeed we took on the added risk of demolishing the site prior to handing it over to Hexagon and Horniman. With our Contractor, Rosesite, we worked closely with the neighbours to ensure a safe and satisfactory demolition process, including that much of the demolition work was carried out by hand. We were also able to retain in safe condition, sufficient parts of these old walls to help the neighbours benefit from enhanced privacy and security”

This approach enabled Hexagon and Horniman to take over the project once these risk factors had been satisfactory dealt with.

Bramble Estates also added value by designing the scheme to accommodate an extra house when compared to the previous failed planning application.

Hexagon’s Development & Regeneration Director, Kerry Heath says: “Developers such as Bramble Estates can offer Housing Associations an invaluable service in taking on and solving site related issues, helping us to better control our risks, whilst meeting the delivery expectations of our funders.”

The scheme at Biggin Way is a £5 million development that comprises 13 residential properties. Horniman’s private sale element comprises a terrace of five properties and two detached houses, while Hexagon’s affordable rent properties comprise a terrace of three houses, two semi-detached homes and one disabled unit and received grant funding from the GLA

Rosesite is currently building both the private sale and affordable rent elements of the scheme, with completion of the project scheduled for Summer 2017.

[1] Horniman Housing Association is a subsidiary of Hexagon Housing Association, it develops homes for private sale

[2] Local authorities across the UK have spent just 20% of the money allocated to them for affordable housing over the past five years (via commuted sums) , citing high land values as the main barrier to development: “£1bn of affordable homes payment remains unspent” – Estates Gazette, 19th March 2016

You can go on to say that Bramble took the strategy of involving  Hexagon /Horniman – as their ability to develop both affordable and private housing  provides financial advantages and enables such sites to succeed.

Further information

  • Biggin Way was granted planning consent in late 2015 by the London Borough of Croydon.
  • Bramble Estates is a residential property developer established in 1994 with expertise in land acquisition, planning and value engineering. This enables it to deliver projects from a variety of land assets for private clients and housing associations.
  • Hexagon Housing Association is an innovative and responsive Housing Association working in partnership with a range of local authorities to meet affordable housing and care needs across South East London.
  • Horniman is a non-charitable subsidiary of Hexagon Housing Association that develops homes for private sale.
  • Rosesite is a residential construction company based in Dartford, Kent, that builds both private and housing association developments across the South East.


Images shows original site, and artist’s impression of the new development.

Contact details

BRAMBLE ESTATES – call Brian Culank on 01582 766 000 or email

HEXAGON HOUSING ASSOCIATION- call Kerry Heath on 02087687986 or email