Case Study — Brooklands College, Ashford
attractive homes planned
to help relocate the community gym
The land previously occupied by Brooklands College in Ashford is a desirable ten acre town centre site, with extremely good transport links. With the college moving to new local premises, the land became available for purchase with certain conditions, including the retention of a health and beauty college on site. After the purchase had been completed, we became aware that a community gym on-site, which had been served notice to leave the premises, had not yet been able to raise enough funds to build a newly located facility, and as such was going to have to close down. The well-loved and famous gym had been behind Britain's Got Talent's dance troupe Spellbound, as well as a number of Olympic athletes, and was frequented by both professional sportspeople and members of the local community, including over 1,000 children a week. Despite not being contractually required to, we identified with the cause and as part of our commitment to the local community, decided to restructure the contract of the sale and offer both financial aid and free expert assistance for the relocation of the gym. We have thus far been able to save the gym from closing down, to the delight of its members.
Our assistance has been critical to the gym's survival. Following our lease renegotiations we generously donated £50,000 to help towards the fundraising that will enable the construction of the new gym facility nearby, whilst also contributing project management and advice regarding the planning and build stages of the new facility. When the new building is ready, we will be able to commence the full build project on the Brooklands College site, knowing that the local population will still be served by the great gym facility. Our sense of duty to local communities is central to all project planning and development, but going above and beyond to ensure the local community was content with the development plans in this case was particularly rewarding for all involved.
The finished development will also serve the community well, with around 350 attractive homes featured alongside communal space, a three acre public park, and educational facilities including the health and beauty college. As well as the strong relationships with the local council, communities and institutions which this project demonstrates, another key partnership this project rests on is that with CPC Group, our joint venture partner, who have provided funding to the project. Whilst Inland retains control of planning and development stages of a project, CPC enable us to have greater buying power to acquire land opportunities. Following the infrastructure and early development stages of the Brooklands College site, Inland and CPC Group will decide whether to sell plots to developers, or whether Inland will complete the housebuilding themselves.