Press releases

ECF doubles in size to £400m to deliver place changing regeneration across England

Further investment to build on success to date, supporting and unlocking the potential of cities and towns across England.

27 Feb 2024

Full press release

  • Unique partnership of over 20 years between Homes England, Legal & General, and Muse continues to invest in opportunities that create long-term, secure income streams, underpinned by societal demand
  • ECF aims to drive regeneration and housing delivery to create high-quality urban environments that reflect the priorities of local communities

ECF (formerly the English Cities Fund), is a partnership between three of the UK’s leading regeneration and investment organisations, Homes England, Legal & General and Muse.

The partnership has expanded with the injection of an additional £100m of equity from the partners, to be matched by an additional £100m of debt, which provides capacity for ECF to grow to £400m to deliver transformational change in areas that need it most.  

ECF, a public-private partnership, brings together Homes England’s ambition to deliver more affordable housing, Legal & General’s proficiency and experience in investing in transformative real estate and infrastructure, and Muse’s expertise in urban regeneration. It was first created in 2001 with £100m of investment to boost priority regeneration areas. 

By 2036 ECF is expected to deliver more than 1m sq. ft of commercial space to support education; 17,000 new homes; and additional social infrastructure to support health and wellbeing. ECF delivers with a focus on place-based impact and investing in opportunities which deliver risk adjusted returns, alongside positive social and environmental outcomes. 

Through close collaboration with local partners and understanding the needs of the communities in which it operates, ECF delivers transformative regeneration.  Since its first investment in Liverpool in 2001 ECF has: 

  • Completed five mixed-use regeneration projects across England (Liverpool, London, Plymouth, Salford, and Wakefield) worth £1.2bn 
  • Delivered 2,150 homes in new neighbourhoods, along with 1,150,000 sq. ft of office, retail, and leisure space, and created over 8,000 jobs 
  • Constructed the largest Passivhaus-certified affordable housing project in the Northwest boasting 96 affordable apartments 
  • Reimagined a former surface car park in Salford, now the Eden building, which is a pioneering 12-storey office building. It is set up to be net zero carbon in operation in accordance with the UK Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Framework and hosts Europe’s largest living wall 
  • Developed plans for an innovation district at Salford Crescent with Salford Council and the University of Salford 
  • Delivered new community infrastructure including a library and community centre at Rathbone Market in London and facilitated the delivery of the 1,000 pupil Plymouth Academy and 171-berth marina at Millbay

ECF helps to alleviate pressure on housing in England by delivering affordable homes in areas which need them. As part of vibrant new places, ECF also delivers workspaces and community assets. These provide long term benefits and enhance local economies. 

With a strong pipeline, additional capital will build on ECF’s success to date. Increasing in size will ensure ECF has a faster and greater impact across new locations, alongside existing place-based partnerships (Salford Crescent, Manor Road Quarter in Canning Town, Stockport 8 and St Helens, Merseyside).  

Sir Michael Lyons, Chair of ECF: “ECF has had a real impact on cities such as Salford, Liverpool, London and Plymouth. We have really changed the places in which we have invested. We have provided homes, jobs, work space and new public realm. We always take a long-term view, emphasise sustainable change and work closely with local partners, sharing risks and rewards where that is possible.

“With this further expansion we will be able to invest in new towns and cities and will continue to bring our unique mix of policy expertise, long term investment and development capability to support their communities."

Peter Denton, Chief Executive of Homes England: “Spanning two decades, the English Cities Fund has a track record of delivering truly transformational places in areas that need it the most.

“This expansion will support ECF’s strong project pipeline, continuing the work of this long-standing partnership and creating vibrant new places, jobs, homes and opportunities across the country.”

Laura Mason, Chief Executive Officer, Legal & General Capital: “This additional injection of capital allows ECF to expand at pace as it continues to deliver strong returns and positive impact. The partnership between Homes England, Legal & General and Muse benefits from deep sector knowledge and access to a unique pipeline of assets which deliver investment opportunities that create long-term, secure income streams that tackle some of the major social, environmental and economic issues facing society.   

“With an increased appetite from other purpose-driven investors looking to access opportunities that drive returns, alongside impact, we recognise that this is an attractive partnership.”  

Bill Hughes, Global Head of LGIM Real Assets: “As a Group, Legal & General are extremely proud of the impact we’ve had over the past 23 years working in close partnership with Homes England and Muse. ECF is a prime example where the public sector, institutional investors, and sector experts can work hand in hand to deliver much-needed social infrastructure that supports locations which may have been left behind. We’re sure that the next decade of regeneration projects will bring further successes, positive social and environmental impact and like-minded new partners to invest capital alongside us into projects that can help to drive financial returns with positive social and environmental outcomes.” 
Phil Mayall, Managing Director at Muse: “ECF has, and continues to, deliver complex, impactful, and sustainable regeneration. Working in partnership with Homes England and Legal & General, ECF is unique in its ability to deliver challenging regeneration over the long term.  

“ECF’s expansion is testament to the team’s success over two decades, with a track record of delivery. With greater resources, we will have an even greater impact on places and communities. Our team will work with new and existing partners, across all the regions in which we operate, to realise this potential in a way which delivers genuine social value.” 

Further information

Harriet De Beaufort Suchlick

Harriet de Beaufort-Suchlick

Head of Corporate Communications

Legal & General Capital

Notes to editors

Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK’s leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with £1.2 trillion in total assets under management (as at FY23) of which c40% (circa £0.5 trillion) is international.

We have a highly synergistic business model, which continues to drive strong returns. We are a leading international player in Institutional Retirement, in Retail Savings and Protection, and in both public and private markets through our Asset Management division. Across the Group, we are committed to responsible investing and dedicated to serving the long-term savings and investment needs of customers and society.

As at 7 June 2024, we estimate the Group’s Solvency II coverage ratio to be 224%.

As at 11 June 2024, Legal & General has a market capitalisation of £14.6 billion.

Legal & General Capital (LGC) is Legal & General Group’s alternative asset platform, creating assets for Legal & General Retirement and third-party clients in order to achieve improved risk-adjusted returns for our shareholders.  LGC has built its capabilities in a range of alternative sectors, including in residential property; specialist commercial real estate; clean energy; alternative credit; and venture capital, which are all supported by long-term structural growth drivers, meet a financing gap and respond to a scarcity of supply that is underpinned by enduring societal needs.

Its purpose is to invest society’s capital for society’s benefit. Investing in the real economy and supporting the Group’s focus on climate and inclusive capitalism, LGC’s investments create jobs, change lives and contribute towards a net zero carbon future.

Legal & General has invested over £29bn in levelling-up regional economies, including through major UK-wide regeneration schemes and has recently made a commitment to enable all its new homes to operate at net zero carbon emissions from 2030.