WE’VE kinda been expecting Chris Philp’s name to pop up in a news story at some stage, one announcing that his efforts in Hampstead and Kilburn for the Conservatives at the last election would be rewarded with a safe seat candidacy at the next. No news so far, but maybe he’s just too busy at work.
His company, Pluto, has just launched a £250 million capital fund offering loans to developers, ‘filling in’ at a time when banks are slimming their lending.
He explained earlier this month: “The launch of this new business is highly opportune. Developers continue to find it difficult to source adequate funding for their schemes. Yet, the number of planning approvals new homes has jumped over the last year in the wake of the National Planning Policy Framework.”
Pluto’s first loan from the fund: £12.1 million to help the housing development right next to West Hampstead Thameslink station in Iverson Road get off the ground. The design is interesting, some of it will be on stilts and it will rise to five storeys at its highest.
It’s hard to win an argument against new housing in a city with a chronic shortage – ten are of the 36 are marked ‘affordable’. That said, there is a rumbling debate in that part of the borough about whether a whole raft of recent and upcoming developments have been approved without enough thought about the knock on effects of a more populated West Hampstead with bulkier buildings.
But that’s a debate for the politicians, and this is Chris’s day job, for which he is happy to talk about injecting some cash into the economy and helping to get builders on site.
He added: “We are helping to fill the gap left by the large number of banks that have withdrawn from the residential property development finance market in the last five years.”