A specialist lawyer who advised on a complex corporate acquisition which paves the way for around 3,100 new homes on the former Dagenham Stamping Plant car works site at Dagenham Dock says the deal shows the continued confidence of the Peabody Trust to invest for growth and the general buoyancy of the wider property market for registered providers.
Wendy Wilks, a partner and head of the London Housing Team at Bevan Brittan, was speaking after leading a multi-disciplinary team from the national law firm to help Peabody to complete the purchase of Dagenham Dock Limited, the owner of the site of the former Ford Stamping Works, put in place facilitating documentation with third parties to develop out the site and advising on the grant agreement with the GLA providing a £80m grant linked to delivery of 1,550 affordable homes into the site under the Affordable Housing Programme.
Peabody will now work closely with Barking and Dagenham Council, BeFirst and the Greater London Authority to deliver a placemaking-led masterplan for more than 3,100 new homes, of which over 1,550 will be affordable housing, in addition to new spaces for learning, leisure, play and work.
The deal to acquire the 44-acre brownfield site from Europa Capital and its joint venture partner St Congar Land, the owners of Dagenham Dock Limited, was a complex transaction negotiated over three years which saw the Bevan Brittan team advising Peabody drawing on skills from experts at the firm in housing, corporate, planning and state aid.
Wendy, who has advised Peabody on numerous transactions, said: “This important and exciting acquisition shows the ambition of our client to take significant steps to enable it to continue to develop housing for Londoners and will put Peabody on the map in this area and enable it to make a substantial leap forward with its strategic development plans.”
She added: “It shows the confidence and development capability Peabody has in the market to take this step at the moment, and that reflects our experience of the property market where, despite the obvious challenges we have seen during the pandemic, Registered Providers and developers still having confidence to engage in the Property Market as the need for housing remains strong.”
Peter Cross, Project Director – North & East Regions/Development & Sales Peabody Trust says "The acquisition of Dagenham Dock Ltd (owner of the former Stamping Plant) has broken new ground for Peabody in terms of acquisition scale and complexity, with multiple interconnected matters requiring consideration. Bevan Brittan’s capability to bring multiple areas of expertise including Property (Wendy Wilks and Fiona McDonald) and Corporate (Andrew Spicer and Chris Harper) under a single ‘team approach’ has been vital to getting a holistic view of the transaction and giving clear coordinated advice to Peabody’s Executive and Board. The coordination and management of the service they have provided has been seamless, and highly responsive with a genuine focus on understanding our commercial objectives, with a tailored approach to presenting and advising on potential risks and opportunities. The team are comprehensive in considering issues, but have also been pragmatic and proactive in providing solutions to challenges".
Wendy led the Bevan Brittan team with support from fellow partners Chris Harper, head of the corporate team; Kathryn Lawrence, head of the planning team; and David Owens, a specialist Governance and advisory lawyer.
Senior Associates Fiona McDonald, a specialist in housing and development, and corporate lawyer Andrew Spicer were also part of the multi-disciplinary Bevan Brittan team put together to advise Peabody on the transaction.
Illustrative sketch and ariel view of Dagenham Docks:
Images courtesy of Peaboody