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Canterbury – Whitefriars
Advising Cantebury City Council on the award winning redevelopment of the Whitefriars area to create the first of the new ‘Urban Renaissance’ schemes.
- Canterbury City Council
The BriefTo advise the City Council in respect of the redevelopment of the Whitefriars area bounded in part by the City Wall. Whitefriars was heavily damaged by bombing in the Second World War and was replanned in the 1950s to 1970s with little consideration for the historic fabric of the City. Much of the land was held by Land Securities on a head lease from the City Council.
SolutionIn 1996 C&W organised an architectural competition. Chapman Taylor Partners were appointed as Masterplanners with an agreed Development Brief, as prepared by ourselves. This Brief clearly specified a retail led, mixed use scheme arranged around open streets and squares. In January 1999 planning permission was granted.
C&W provided support to the City Council throughout the process, giving evidence at the 1999 Compulsory Purchase Order Inquiry. The Order was confirmed by the Secretary of State and work began on site later that year. The scheme completed in phases in 2004/2005. It formally opened, fully let, in September 2005.
The redevelopment necessitated significant archaeological investigation that took 4 years and needed £3.5 million funding. Whitefriars provided a new store for Fenwick, community facilities, residential accommodation, a new bus station, underground servicing and modern retail accommodation, not then available within the city centre.
C&W provided continued advice to the City Council on the regearing of a number of head leases, culminating in the exchange of the Development Agreement in 1999. This provided for the grant of a single new modern headlease over the entire site. We negotiated the Development Agreement which not only preserved their income stream throughout the development process but also secured the City Council a significant ground rent gearing upon completion. C&W was retained as joint leasing agent. A prime rent of ZA£200 was achieved as opposed to the ZA£150 psf forecast in 1999. In 2007 C&W successfully sold the head lease interest on behalf of Land Securities to Henderson.
ConclusionThis was the first of the new ‘Urban Renaissance’ schemes. Renewing the City’s historic grain and creating new public places. Whitefriars provides modern shopping facilities within the constraints of the City's historic fabric. The scheme met Land Securities required investment rate of return over the lengthy 6 year development programme. The ground rent returns also exceeded the Council's financial requirements. It has won the BCSC 2005 Gold Award and the ICSC Europe Award for the large centre category.