Asda to build ‘town centre’ with 1,500 homes in London

This move marks Asda’s entry into the residential property market

Zuber and Mohsin Issa

Pramod Thomas

SUPERMARKET chain Asda, co-owned by billionaire Issa brothers, has announced plans to develop a ‘town centre’ in north-west London, which will include 1,500 homes, the Financial Times reported on Monday (13).

This move marks Asda’s entry into the residential property market, positioning it as the latest retailer to diversify into housing development. The project will be executed in partnership with housebuilder, Barratt Developments.

According to the report, Asda intends to redevelop a 10-acre site located in the Park Royal area near Acton. The proposed development is set to include a new, large Asda store, replacing an existing store that will remain operational during the construction phase.

Alongside the supermarket, the plan includes 1,500 residential units, with 500 designated as affordable housing, and additional retail spaces.

The proposal, which is subject to planning approval, represents a significant step for Asda into mixed-use development. If approved, it will be one of the largest land deals Asda has undertaken in recent years, although specific financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.

The Old Oak and Park Royal area was identified in 2015 as a prime location for regeneration, anticipated to be one of the largest projects in London since the 2012 Olympic Games.

The redevelopment aims to transform this area by providing new housing and retail opportunities, enhancing the local infrastructure, and potentially boosting the local economy, the FT report said.

Ian Lawrence, head of mixed-use developments at Asda, stressed the strategic importance of this project.

“This venture marks a significant milestone for the business and allows us to maximize the potential of our property portfolio for the first time,” he was quoted as saying.

Asda is also considering similar projects at other freehold sites, particularly within London.

Earlier this month, Asda refinanced £3.2 billion of its debt, following a leveraged buyout in 2020. The supermarket chain is striving to remain competitive against traditional rivals like Tesco and Sainsbury’s, as well as discount retailers Aldi and Lidl.

Asda’s initiative follows similar moves by other major retailers, the report added. The owner of John Lewis and Waitrose recently scaled back its property ambitions due to high interest rates and inflation but remains committed to integrating residential developments into its business model.

An Asda spokesperson revealed that a planning application would be submitted later this year.

The plans will be reviewed by the department for regional development in London, the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), established by the mayor’s office in 2015 to oversee the regeneration of Old Oak Common and the HS2 and Elizabeth line connections.