Peabody banner at a conference

We ran fringe events at the Labour and Conservative conferences.

At the Labour Party Conference, Manchester

Our events focused on the potential of Thamesmead as a garden city of the future, and how the housing sector can support government to deliver more and better homes.

Stephen Howlett Labour
Stephen Howlett addresses a packed fringe event

Housing the Nation

First up was "Housing the Nation", hosted in partnership with think tank IPPR.

Antonia Bance, Head of Campaigns at Shelter, chaired the event and led a panel including Peabody Executive Director for Regeneration and Sales Jeremy Stibbe, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Lord Adonis, architect and Labour Peer Lord Rogers, and Matt Griffiths from PricedOut.

Panel member comments

Jeremy highlighted the long-term regeneration of Thamesmead as an example of how new homes can be built on existing sites.

This was supported by the Urban Renaissance principles set out by Lord Rogers, as part of his ‘New Towns within Cities’ agenda. Lord Adonis argued that cities need to be developed from the centre outwards, and stressed the importance of building strong transport infrastructure alongside new schemes. 

A lively discussion followed the presentations, including points about the costs and benefits of extending into the green belt, and how local authorities could play a bigger role in developing new homes.

conservative conference
Jeremy Stibbe (standing) leads our development programme of up to 1,000 new homes a year from 2015

The Housing Fringe

Chaired by the Guardian Public Services Editor David Brindle, this event brought together eight of leading housing organisations representing 285,000 households across the UK.

There were contributions from Peabody Chief Executive Stephen Howlett, Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie.

Panel member comments

Each of the housing fringe partners delivered a two-minute speech on the key things they would like to see included in the Labour Party manifesto.  

Stephen Howlett talked about the social and economic benefits of the housing sector and central government’s role in unlocking public land assets to boost supply. He also welcomed Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls’s proposals for an increased minimum wage, as it would help people to pay for their housing needs.

Emma Reynolds promised that housing was to be a top priority for the next Labour government and Chris Leslie commented that a lack of affordable housing was threatening to cause a rise in interest rates and it would be of interest to the Treasury to deal with the house building supply problem.

The event ended with questions from the audience.

At the Conservative Party Conference, Birmingham

Our events with IPPR and The Housing Fringe partners made their second appearance of the political party conference season.

Housing the Nation

Katharine Sacks-Jones, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Shelter, chaired the event, hosted in partnership with IPPR. She began to session by making the case for housing investment, highlighting that every £1 invested in housing is worth £3 to the wider economy.

Panel member comments

Jeremy Stibbe, Executive Director for Regeneration and Sales at Peabody, set out our plans for the regeneration of Thamesmead, commenting on the importance of transport, culture, civic engagement and local and regional government support. Inner-city new towns could work better than countryside new towns due to existing transport and communities.

Lord Adonis commented that there was large potential for brownfield development in the UK. In London the largest landowners were the inner London boroughs. These local housing estates were often underdeveloped and there was scope for intensifying the housing on them.

Housing fringe
Brandon Lewis (standing) is MP for Great Yarmouth

The Housing Fringe

The event was hosted jointly by Peabody, Genesis, Gentoo, Metropolitan, Moat, Riverside, Sovereign and Mears, and was chaired by Million Homes Million Lives Chair Natalie Elphicke.

Panel member comments

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis MP said he had spoken with a number of housing associations, most recently hearing about Peabody’s upcoming ventures, and he said there were huge opportunities for these associations in the future.

He wanted to look at the housing supply chain, and how housebuilders could deliver good quality, well-designed homes.

Stephen Howlett spoke about the importance of transport infrastructure and gave the example of Thamesmead as connecting people to central London. He suggested local authorities needed to look at freeing up public land, and called on the government to galvanise departments to identify public land sites available for housing.

The audience voted on eight housing policy proposals from the various housing associations and bodies leading the event, and voted in favour of longer-term planning from councils to achieve consistency in the market.