Charitable housing association Hightown purchased Preston Hill House, Chesham from global event catering and logistics specialist Global Infusion Group in May this year. Hightown has kindly agreed to allow Global Infusion Group to remain in situ, rent free, until the end of July as the facility is currently being used to prepare and cook more than 5000 meals a week for Buckinghamshire’s NHS Trust during the Covid-19 pandemic.
When the lockdown was announced, e2b, Global Infusion Group’s logistical arm which has already moved to its new headquarters in Aston Clinton, was awarded key worker status. It works closely with numerous well-known food and beverage brands and it was vital that it could ensure that distribution levels to supermarkets and the fulfilment of Ecommerce orders were maintained. In addition, the kitchen at its existing premises at Preston Hill House was and is still required to deliver meals for keyworkers and NHS staff. To minimise infections and adhere to Covid-19 safe working practices, delaying the move for as long as possible was the best option.
Hightown is currently preparing a full planning application for the redevelopment of the site to provide approximately 60 new homes, comprising a mixture of family housing and flats. The development will be 100% affordable, with rented homes being allocated to those on the Council’s Housing register. There will also be a proportion of homes available for shared ownership, providing an affordable route into home ownership.
The planning application will be submitted this summer and construction is expected to commence in the latter half of 2021, subject to obtaining the necessary planning consents. The proposed redevelopment of the site would make effective use of Brownfield land, thus reducing pressure on the greenbelt, whilst making a valuable contribution to the shortage of affordable housing in the Borough.
Commenting on Hightown’s decision to accommodate Global Infusion Group in its existing building, Andrew Royall, director of development for the association said: “The Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on everyone’s lives. We’re proud to play our part and support Global Infusion Group given the circumstances. Remaining in their existing premises is assisting the team there to deliver an important service to Buckinghamshire’s NHS Trust. As a charitable housing association community is at the very heart of what we do and there has never been a time when we’ve needed to pull together more.”
Tony Laurenson, CEO and founder of Global Infusion Group adds: “Across two weeks in March we lost 75% of our annual global turnover as many of 2020’s high profile events were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Not to be defeated, and through our close connections with our local authority, we sprang into action to cater for the NHS locally and are delivering meals to 15 of its sites across Buckinghamshire which has undoubtedly been made much easier with the support and understanding of the team at Hightown. We’re extremely grateful and wish them every success with the new affordable housing development.”
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