What is Knowle Green Estates?
Knowle Green Estates (KGE) is a housing company, owned by Spelthorne Borough Council to provide new homes for local residents. It is controlled by the Council and provides the specific tools and skills needed to manage a rapidly growing portfolio of housing.
What does KGE do?
KGE manages the residential properties, lettings and tenant agreements that the Council develops. The company’s primary purpose is to meet the housing needs of local residents by providing a range of different types of housing, including affordable rented and private rented accommodation and key worker homes.
Spelthorne Borough Council is currently developing and planning over 500 new homes across the Borough and has a goal of delivering 600 new homes for Spelthorne residents to rent by the end of 2023, many of which will be affordable or key-worker homes. When the schemes are completed, KGE takes over the running of the properties.
KGE has already helped the council to deliver:
Three two-bedroom homes in Churchill Way in Sunbury, let at Affordable Rents (up to 80 per cent of the market equivalent)
Eight apartments on the Upper Halliford Road in Shepperton, let at Affordable Rents (up to 80 per cent of the market equivalent)
KGE will take on the running of:
55 new homes on the site previously occupied by Benwell House in Sunbury, let at a mixture of Market Rent and Affordable Rents (up to 80 per cent of the market equivalent)
Future plans (subject to planning permission):
25 apartments at the Council Offices in Knowle Green, let at Affordable Rents (up to 80 per cent of the market equivalent) are under construction.
A number of new homes on the Kingston Road car park in Staines, bringing the Oast House into community use.
36 additional homes on Ceaser Court in Sunbury.
You can keep up to date with the latest planning applications by visiting the Spelthorne Borough Council planning hub.
Why was KGE set-up as a separate company?
As a limited company, KGE has the flexibility to offer a wide-range of tenancy agreements and can make operational and commercial decisions quickly. It has been designed for this specific purpose. In addition, the company insulates the Council from the potentially negative impacts of fluctuations in the housing market.
Does KGE make a profit?
Generating a profit is not the primary purpose of KGE but, if any is made, it is returned to the Council or retained by KGE any to reinvest in more housing initiatives and would not be a dividend for directors.
How is KGE controlled and scrutinised?
Because KGE is a ‘controlled company’ of the Council, its activities and decision making are open to inspection and scrutiny by the Council’s auditors, councillors and the public. In addition, the company is regularly reviewed by Cabinet, Audit Committee and the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, and its accounts are separately audited.
KGE’s mission statement
With the Council1,2,3 and for the residents of Spelthorne4, increasing the availability5 and quality6 of housing7 in our Borough8: a property business9 with a commercial head10 and a social heart.11
1) KGE helps SBC to deliver SBC’s 2020-2025 Homelessness Strategy, the Housing Section (3) of the 2020-2035 Local Plan (current draft) and one of SBC’s four Corporate Priorities (Housing) and is guided by these plans. As the company grows and the number of properties under the company’s management grows, increasing reference to these Council priorities will appear in KGE’s annual reporting.
2) KGE works closely with SBC in the planning and execution of actions to deliver these strategies e.g. by participating in weekly Development and Investment Group meetings, Property Investment Committee meetings (where there is a residential aspect), meetings and close cooperation with the Council’s Housing, Benefits departments.
3) As further clarified in (5), the acquisition of sites or properties, design, planning and construction are the responsibility of the Council and such actions are carried out in the name of SBC. The role of KGE in these actions is to act as advisor and, subsequently, to take over the ownership of the property and management of lettings, maintenance and tenancies.
4) The “residents of Spelthorne” means people currently residing in Spelthorne. KGE targets the marketing of its properties to people “with a connection” to the Borough (e.g. residing or working in Spelthorne). KGE prioritises this over maximising profits e.g. KGE does not try to attract residents from out of the borough who might be prepared to pay higher rentals than would Borough residents.
5) SBC “owns” the task of acquiring sites, planning and delivering the targeted number and type of properties (e.g. planning applications will be in SBC’s name and any exceptions are historical anomalies due simply to immature processes). KGE will advise on appropriateness, attractiveness, contribution towards meeting targets etc.
6) Prioritising the balance of quality/affordability over considerations of profit.
7) The company’s focus is on residential properties. KGE is not concerned with retail, commercial investments or municipal properties. Mixed use developments including residential use will be approached using KGE as a partner in special purpose vehicles (LLP), maintaining transparency.
8) The term “Borough” (capitalised) means the Borough of Spelthorne.
9) The term “property business” means the activities of owning and managing residential properties, the letting thereof and the management of the resulting tenancies.
10) Once the initial start-up and development phases have completed, the company is striving to be financially self-sufficient.
11) Social purpose outweighs profitability in the company’s priorities.