Let's talk about housing
Our Chief Executive, Stephen Howlett, dropped by BBC Radio London on Tuesday to talk about affordable housing, new homes and much more.
Broadcaster Robert Elms used to live in one of our buildings in Herbrand Street in Bloomsbury so he already knows quite a bit about Peabody. He welcomed our Chief Executive, Stephen Howlett, to his BBC London show on Tuesday morning.
Stephen Howlett, left, with Robert Elms
Robert initially asked about the history of Peabody so Stephen told him about the generosity of our founder George Peabody who set up the Peabody Donation Fund in 1862. They also discussed the ubiquity of Peabody buildings across London, especially those built by architect Henry Darbishire with their distinctive yellow bricks.
Stephen swiftly moved on to talk about Peabody today and our continuing aim to provide homes for the people who are “driving London’s economy". He explained that 60 per cent of our properties have a rent below £130 per week – that's against a London market rent weekly average of £338.
Building new homes
Stephen also talked about our record of building new homes that will "stand the test of time and add to London's streetscape". Last year, for example, we built 1080 homes – more than at any time in the history of the organisation. Our current development pipeline stands at 8,000 new homes with the regeneration of Thamesmead in South East London offering real opportunities with possibly up to 20,000 homes being built over the next 20-25 years.
Building all these new homes is not without its challenges, of course. Stephen was clear that housing associations must be part of the solution to the housing crisis. He described how Peabody works closely with the London boroughs and in partnership with developers who usually have to provide a specified number of homes in a new development. Stephen also gave his views about building on the green belt (“you have to be really careful”).