Southern Grove rescues site of stalled eco-scheme to build 170 fully-affordable homes

A site that was supposed to host the world’s most sustainable residential tower has been rescued out of receivership by developer Southern Grove.

Eco-development, The Beacon, in Hemel Hempstead, Herts, first made headlines when it was announced in 2015 and was due to be completed in 2018.

It was later remodelled and renamed ‘Boxmoor Forest’ to please planners by developer Lumiere Developments. However, construction never got underway and ultimately the debt held against the project was called in by its bridging lender.

The site was advertised by the receiver at £8.5million and Southern Grove exchanged contracts on the land last week. The company — which specialises in delivering affordable housing schemes in areas of high-demand — will now partner with a housing association to provide 170 homes in a fully affordable scheme.

The site in Whiteleaf Road is just a 10-minute walk from Hemel Hempstead train station which gets commuters to London Euston in around 30 minutes.

ECE Architecture will be designing the development and a planning application is expected to be submitted to Dacorum Borough Council this summer. PwC have been acting for the receivers and the sale of the site was handled by Allsop.

Tom Slingsby, CEO of developer Southern Grove, commented:

“Hemel Hempstead desperately needs more affordable homes and we’re proud to be tabling the latest in a series of projects for fully affordable schemes right where people need them.

“It’s great news for the people of Hemel Hempstead that development of this site will now make progress.

“All the units will be available at affordable rent or for purchase with shared ownership, and we remain determined to raise the quality of the finish that residents can expect from homes available through these initiatives.”