Let’s Dance! Ballerina jumping for joy with £1m expansion

22/07/2019 23:00:00
Case study Our people Loans
The owner of a ballet school is looking forward to producing the next generation of West End stars, having secured a £1m loan to secure the future of her rapidly expanding training academy.

Renowned dance teacher Gillian Barton, who has worked with the likes of Dame Judy Dench and Billy Connolly, worked with award-winning challenger bank Redwood to fund the construction of two new residential homes to house students at the Ballet West dance school in Scotland.
The funding was agreed by Redwood within four days, despite a host of complications which had caused other lenders to back away from the deal.
Mrs Barton is a professional ballet dancer who now trains young hopefuls through her own ballet school. The students rent accommodation from her, spread across five residential homes, all based local to the ballet school in Scotland. 
Redwood Bank was approached by Charlotte Stanford who works for their panel broker, Clever Lending. They were asked to refinance a portfolio of properties and release equity to allow Mrs Barton to build two more properties, on land she already owns and which already had the benefit of planning permission. These would be used to house additional students from her ballet school.
Mrs Barton’s age had prevented her getting funding elsewhere, but Redwood was happy to take a view on this and support the ballet school, which employs three of her children and has grown in the past 27 years to the point where it now trains 85 students – a figure expected to rise to 100 within three years.
The main issues with the request were the customer’s age and concentration risk of having the properties all in the same location and being heavily reliant on the ballet school to provide serviceability.

 John Hall, Business Development Manager.

Redwood Bank’s Business Development Manager John Hall met up with Mrs Barton in Glasgow, to get a better feel for the deal and the individual behind the request. He said: “She is a very level-headed lady, with a professional background as a ballet dancer. The ballet school has been running for over 27 years, with student numbers increasing annually. It was very clear that Mrs Barton knew her market and what she wanted to achieve.”
A 25 year loan of £1 million was agreed, which refinanced Mrs Barton’s existing portfolio and released additional equity to assist with the funding of two more residential properties.
The loan was formally agreed on the 27th November 2018, just four days after the original application, and was drawn down on the 21st December.
The visit to Glasgow to meet the customer helped facilitate the deal.  Redwood’s personal touch and the quick turnover made this case notable – with a very quick turnaround, thanks to a proactive borrower, good solicitors on both sides and the flexibility/pragmatism of the Bank.
Mr Hall added: “It was good to meet Mrs Barton, as it gave her the confidence in the Bank and enabled us to discuss what we were able to provide and understand the risks that needed to be overcome.
“She has a niche business, which grows year on year, and this doesn’t come without its own risks. I had the confidence in Mrs Barton and her family to effectively manage these in order to achieve an outcome all parties were happy with.”
Charlotte Stanford, introducing broker at Clever Lending said “Redwood were fantastic to deal with on this case from the beginning, starting with John’s open-minded view of the whole scenario. The client had a completion deadline and the whole team worked extremely hard and successfully achieved this.”
For more information visit: www.redwoodbank.co.uk.