With a history of acquiring and running retail and leisure sites, Schroders Capital is optimistic about its new Romford purchase, The Brewery.

It was recently announced that Schroders Capital UK Real Estate Fund and the Zurich Investment Foundation Immobilien Europa Direkt, which is managed by Schroders Capital, partnered up to purchase the Waterloo Road site for £162million.

Now Tom Woolven, investment manager for Schroders Capital UK Real Estate Fund, has spoken on what it is the company hopes to achieve with The Brewery.

The initial interest, he says, was due to the site continuing to draw a high volume of customers despite the impacts of Covid, thanks to its range of retailers, leisure spots and restaurants.

Romford Recorder: The Brewery. Picture: Ken MearsThe Brewery. Picture: Ken Mears (Image: Archant)

This made it an attractive prospect for the team at Schroders, which Mr Woolven says will be able to “combine strong existing relationships with occupiers across the sector with a collaborative and operationally-focussed mindset”.

An example of this, he said, includes a new centre Schroders developed in Bracknell in partnership with Legal & General.

Working with the local council and the community, he said the development led to around 3,500 new jobs being created in the town.

Asked specifically about concerns relating to the turning of the site into flats and other homes, Mr Woolven said: “Our business plan is to manage and enhance The Brewery in its existing form and we will be working closely with local government planning teams to help improve the site and this area of Romford.”

In the short term, he said the plan is to ensure The Brewery “remains an attractive destination for tenants and shoppers”.

Amendments already earmarked include installing better signage, improving the roofs, adding more electric vehicle charging points and solar panels, and introducing better contactless parking payments.

The location of The Brewery within the Romford Strategic Development Area does mean it will be looked to as an area “to satisfy the rise in population”, Mr Woolven said, especially with the arrival of Crossrail.

However, he adds that the strengths of the scheme in its current use will be considered in any future developments.

“Any redevelopment of the site would be done in phases, to ensure the addition of much-needed residential space would also allow us to retain the mix of retail and leisure occupiers which make The Brewery such an attractive destination.”