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John Lewis pushes into private rental market with 800 homes

John Lewis is pushing ahead with its commitment to build and manage rental homes as part of a drive which it says “helps address the UK housing crisis.”

The troubled retail giant has submitted planning applications for two Build To Rent sites at West Ealing and Bromley in London. Initial plans for a vacant warehouse site in Reading will be brought forward later this year.  

It follows its announcement in December last year of a £500m multi-decade joint venture with global investment company Abrdn to deliver around 1,000 new homes across the three locations. 


A statement from John Lewis says its proposed developments show “a long-term commitment to raise standards in rental homes in these communities, where we have local presence through Waitrose shops.”

The plans would see 428 new homes in West Ealing and 353 in Bromley, many of which would be affordable and targeted at key public sector workers. 

“Our ambition is that 35 per cent of the properties are affordable housing with a focus on provision for key workers. The average proportion of affordable housing in new homes developed in England in 2022 was 11.4 per cent. Through our public consultations, we’ve worked with local communities, councillors and other groups to understand what they need from housing in their areas. Our approach to rental property aligns with our values of providing quality, service, sustainability while bringing something valuable to local communities” continues the statement.

A new flagship Waitrose shop and cafe are also included at each location along with improved access for pedestrians and cyclists.


Other features include a resident lounge and dining areas with a fully equipped kitchen to encourage residents to socialise, as well as roof gardens, flexible work spaces and a gym. Residents would have options for short and long-term tenure and the homes would be furnished by John Lewis. 

Later this year the partnership plans to take over management services on three existing Build To Rent sites across the UK. 

“While these are not John Lewis-owned, the move will help us understand the needs of residents to help inform our own rental proposition” says the company.

Nina Bhatia, executive director for strategy and commercial development, says: “We’ve worked closely with local communities to understand their needs and we’re now ready to submit planning applications. Working with our partner Abrdn, we want to bring much needed new homes with a community feel to Bromley and West Ealing, which will include the full commitments to affordable housing.”

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    Nothing with John Lewis is affordable


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