City trio finalises Kent schools building deal

Lovells, Nabarro and Ashurst have closed the £600m Kent Building Schools for the Future ­programme (BSF) – the largest BSF project to date.

Lovells, led by infrastructure and project finance partner Adrian Walker, advised longstanding client and lead sponsor Land Securities Trillium (LST).

LST is working in partnership with Kent County Council, advised by Nabarro projects partner Stephen Matthew. Along with LST, members of the consortium included BSF Investments and Northgate Education. Northgate was advised by Belfast’s L’Estrange & Brett.

The consortium will build and refurbish 10 secondary schools in Birchington, Broadstairs, Gravesend and Herne Bay, and will develop a further 25 institutions at a later date.

Mandated lead arrangers Barclays Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation were advised by Lovells on the project documents, while Ashurst partners Patrick Boyle and Logan Mair advised on finance documents.

Walker said discussions of the merits of increased infrastructure during the downturn should consider BSF as a viable option.

“BSF is certainly an area that the Government could look at further,” he added. “It has the flexibility of a mixture of PFI and government balance sheet financing and good reputability.”

Pinsent Masons partner Mike Mullarkey advised Willmott Dixon Construction on the deal.