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John Lewis Partnership seals £500m investment deal to redevelop Waitrose shops including West Ealing branch into rental flats

John Lewis Partnership has signed a £500 million deal with investment firm abrdn which will see it redevelop existing Waitrose shops including one in West Ealing to also offer rental homes. 

This follows an announcement in the summer about its plans to move into offering homes for rent.

West Ealing’s Waitrose is set to be developed into one of the first locations to offer homes to rent from parent organisation John Lewis Partnership as part of a plan to develop 10,000 homes over the next 10 years with many of these homes to be built above or around the popular supermarket premises.

In a statement, the retailer said: “The deal will see the Partnership develop and manage the proposed new sites and includes commitments to affordable housing and sustainability tied to our existing 2035 net-zero pledge. We want to create homes that will provide a stable income for the Partnership, and moving into housing aligns with our purpose to make a positive difference for our Partners, customers and communities.”

It added: “In Bromley and West Ealing in Greater London, subject to planning permission, Waitrose shops will be redeveloped to provide new homes and improved stores. In Reading, a vacant John Lewis warehouse will be redeveloped. The sites were chosen according to their central location and proximity to transport links.

Nina Bhatia, executive director for strategy and commercial development at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Our partnership with abrdn is a major milestone in our ambition to create much-needed quality residential housing in our communities. Our residents can expect homes furnished by John Lewis with first-rate service and facilities. The move underlines our commitment to build on the strength of our brands to diversify beyond retail into areas where trust really matters.”

Neil Slater, head of real assets, abrdn, said: “The critical lack of quality rental accommodation in the UK needs to be addressed, so we are delighted to partner with the John Lewis Partnership to provide the required institutional investment. The ambitions and responsible ethos of our brands both strongly align, and our partnership should offer investors long-term returns and give residents confidence in a top-quality living experience.”

According to John Lewis Partnership, those looking to rent will have a choice of both short term and long term options as well as having the homes furnished by John Lewis.

A spokesperson for John Lewis Partnership told EALING.NEWS that if the West Ealing shop plans “are approved in the future, we are proposing to build a temporary Waitrose shop, take down the existing shop and rebuild a new and improved store with homes above and around it.”

In July 2022, John Lewis began engaging with the local community through public consultation as it says it will be submitting plans in 2023 to Ealing Council. Local campaign group Stop The Towers (STT) raised its concerns.

At the time, Justine Sullivan, co-Chair of STT said: “We’ve tried to find out more about the development but so far have been stonewalled. So we urge Ealing residents to attend and ask questions about the height and density of the development. We need answers.”

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