Trinity House select Acorn to redevelop important historic London site

Trinity House, which has been looking after the safety of shipping for 500 years, has selected Acorn Property Group as part of a consortium to redevelop an important site adjacent to the historic Trinity Village Estate in the London Borough of Southwark.

The consortium, which also includes Galliard Homes and Otterlo London, was chosen by Trinity House after a competitive tender because it demonstrated a keen understanding of the charity’s requirements and a strong track record of delivery. Crucially, it had a clear vision for transforming the properties at 25-29 Harper Road and the former Court House on Swan Street, SE1, into a new residential development sympathetic to its surroundings.

Trinity House is a private corporation incorporated under a Royal Charter granted by Henry VIII in 1514.  Originally a company of ‘shipmen’, Trinity House has always been responsible for the safety of navigation and the welfare of mariners. 

Today the General Lighthouse Authority for England and Wales ensures the provision and audit of aids to navigation around the coast.  While its charitable remit is discharged by the Trinity House Corporate and Maritime Charities, it’s the Trinity House Maritime Charity which owns the Trinity Village Estate where the new housing will be built and income from which will contribute to the charity’s work.  The estate, then open ground, was endowed to the corporation in 1660 by Mr Christopher Merrick in return for £1669.  Today it comprises two distinctive period squares – Trinity Church Square and Merrick Square – and a number of properties in the surrounding area. 

Commenting on the appointment, Commander Graham Hockley, Secretary to the Trustees of Trinity House, said: “We are delighted to have appointed the Galliard/Acorn/Otterlo team at Harper Road. Last year, 2014, was the 500th anniversary of the incorporation of Trinity House and, as we reflect on that, we are especially anxious to maintain investment in our estate for the benefit of the Trinity House Maritime Charity.

“This transaction has been designed to create a long term income stream for our charitable activities and we look forward to delivering a new building of which we can all be proud of.”

Established in 1995, Acorn Property Group has successfully created a range of refurbished and new build mixed use schemes for the residential and commercial sectors. Acorn has a strong focus on the provision of interesting sustainable architecture that adds quality and a sense of purpose to its immediate environment.

In addition, Acorn is a flexible joint venture partner, working with local Borough Councils and Housing Associations on large scale regeneration projects in London and its environs. The company is also an accomplished landlord with a nationwide property portfolio.

Julian Hampson, Acorn Design Director says “The Galliard and Acorn partnership is a dynamic one based on a huge wealth of experience in Southwark demonstrated by a strong track record of conceiving and delivering award winning buildings. We are thrilled to be working with a longstanding landowner such as Trinity House and look forward to reinforcing our commitment to Southwark.” 

Lucian Grant, of Otterlo London, who has co-ordinated the consortium’s bid, says “Trinity House have been very clear that they are looking for a high quality residential scheme that is designed to maximise the potential of the land for the long term. The development agreement framework we have agreed is a sophisticated structure which significantly enhances asset value for the landowner. Trinity House is able to realise development value in partnership with experts while at the same time remaining protected from as much risk as possible.”

Haworth Tompkins, winner of 6 National RIBA awards, RIBA London Architect of the Year Award for 2014 and winner of the Stirling Award 2015 are the appointed architects to design a mixed tenure residential building to be presented to the local community and London Borough of Southwark this summer. Galliard Construction is the contractor. The development is planned to be completed in 2017. The Corporation of Trinity House was represented by Capita Property.

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