Strategic Land

Mixed Use Scheme At North East Bridgwater, Somerset

Irwin Mitchell’s expert real estate and planning team are key advisors on a major mixed-use development being carried out by longstanding client Hallam Land Management Limited and hailed as “a real success story” by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Our team has advised Hallam Land on all aspects of the acquisition, planning and on-going delivery of the 10-year building programme at North East Bridgwater in Somerset which was launched with an £11.1m “Kickstart Funding” investment from the HCA in 2009.

The development is now well advanced and when complete will deliver a mix of commercial, residential and leisure facilities including 2,000 homes, 3,000 jobs and related infrastructure. A prominent part of the commercial development has been two sites sold to Morrisons for a 75,000m² regional distribution centre and food preparation facility, themselves providing over 1,500 jobs to the local area.

Irwin Mitchell also advised Hallam Land on the sale of part of the site to luxury fashion brand Mulberry.  The site is now home to Mulberry’s second UK factory, doubling the company’s production of womenswear, footwear and accessories as well as providing 300 more local jobs.

Housing construction is well under way with over 500 houses already constructed and occupied and many more in the pipeline about to be brought forward.  BDW, Taylor Wimpey and the HCA have all acquired interests in the site and other house builders may take more parts of the site in due course. 

This project posed a number of challenges, including securing appropriate rights for access and construction of a main link road, and the delivery of a bridge over the main Bristol to London railway line.  It was vital to secure underground and air rights for installation of infrastructure under and above the line, and negotiations with Network Rail were critical to the scheme’s success.

Success also depended on bringing together multiple parties for the delivery of infrastructure within the tight-timescales required. Transactions included disposals to Morrisons, David Wilson Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Mulberry, in addition to the provision of land for social housing to both Yarlington Housing and the HCA.

Nick Duckworth, Managing Director of Hallam Land Management, said:

“With proposals on this scale we have needed to address a number of complex issues, and the commitment of Morrison’s, David Wilson Homes, the Homes and Communities Agency and Sedgemoor District Council, among other parties, has been instrumental in levering a very significant investment which we expect to be of great benefit to Bridgewater.”

 “We have been greatly assisted throughout by Thomas Hall and the Real Estate team at Irwin Mitchell, who have a proven track record for delivering top quality commercial advice on developments such as this, and they have continued this trend throughout this work for us at Bridgewater”

Thomas Hall, Sheffield-based partner at Irwin Mitchell:

“Working with Hallam on the North East Bridgwater site has been a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience, albeit one fraught with challenges and obstacles that we have assisted our client in overcoming.  It was almost a “textbook” example of the variety of issues that can present on a large strategic land site: numerous landowners to satisfy, statutory bodies to deal with, difficult little issues to resolve, joint venture agreements to conclude…

With our and our client’s experience we were able to work through these issues, focusing on what was really important to the success of the scheme, and drive the development to a successful conclusion.  The fact that the site is now a thriving local community is testament to the hard work of our client, which we are delighted to play a part in”. 

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