Tag Archives: places for people

More PRS for Olympic village project

Balfour Beatty has signed a £35m investment deal with the London Legacy Development Corporation to develop more new homes around the former Olympic site in Stratford.

Two new neighbourhoods, named East Wick and Sweetwater, will be created over the next eight years, in a joint venture with Places for People. Together, the pair are destined to include 450 affordable homes, 530 units for market sale and 500 private rented sector homes.

There will be a mix of townhouses, mews homes and apartments, while the new settlements will also include a new nursery, library and health centre, with shops and office space. East Wick is to the north west of the former Olympic site, adjacent to the former press centre, which is itself being transformed into a new centre for digital business under the brand Here East. Sweetwater, also on the western side of the park, will be to the south of East Wick.


East Wick and Sweetwater will sit to the west of the Olympic Park

East Wick and Sweetwater will sit to the west of the Olympic Park

“This project marks our entry as an investor and developer into the UK’s regeneration and housing sector,” said Leo Quinn, chief executive of Balfour Beatty Group. “This market is growing and offers significant opportunities for the Group in the coming years. I look forward to continuing our strong partnership with the London Legacy Development Corporation to ensure that commitments made as part of the London 2012 Games are delivered. With our partner, Places for People, we are very excited to be able to create these new, vibrant, sustainable communities for East London.”

David Cowans, chief executive at Places for People, said: “With our partner, Balfour Beatty, we have the perfect opportunity to work with LLDC to create a truly unique and exciting place to live. This is exactly what Places for People is about, making great places and ensuring that the true Legacy of 2012 lives on by creating opportunities for the existing communities around the park to share in its success.”

Designs include these funky round towers

Designs include these funky round towers

Designs for the two new settlements have already been prepared. An architectural team includes Studio Egret West, Sheppard Robson, Alison Brooks Architects, ShedKM, Piercy & Co and Astudio.

Survey shows councils still unaware of demand for private rented sector developments

Many politicians are still blind to the importance of the private rented sector, and its relevance to those looking for a home. Just 2% of councillors surveyed put PRS top of their perceived priorities for improving the supply of housing.

The disappointing result comes from research carried out by the Smith Institute on behalf of housing provider Places for People. The study asked councillors and officials for their views on a variety of issues around housing, and discovered that while 60% thought owner occupied properties were the top priority, and 38% placed social housing top, just 2% perceived the private rented sector as needing top priority.

“Despite local authorities’ best efforts, clear appetite from investors, and strong emphasis from central government, this work shows us that more needs to be done to make it happen,” said David Cowans, chief executive of Places for People. “Councils have a key role to play in using their planning and economic growth levers to create the right environment to attract investment into this vital sector and drive up standards for tenants.”

A few local authorities are the exception, understanding the importance of PRS and taking a proactive stance. These include Birmingham which is planning to develop its own private rented sector homes, and Wandsworth which has recently approved plans for a major residential scheme with a substantial private rented element.

Paul Hackett from the Smith Institute, which carried out the research, summarised the issues raised. “Our survey shows that councils are cautious about the PRS. They want to improve the security of tenancies and housing quality, but struggle to regulate the PRS in their areas. The government needs to do more to help councils lift the quality bar across the sector.”

While just 51% of councillors thought their local plan actively supported the private rented sector, two thirds were in favour of relaxing section 106 agreements, to favour projects with a significant proportion of PRS homes.

Places for People revealed as second Bovis Homes partner

Places for People is the second organisation to team up with Bovis Homes to deliver 510 new homes for rent around the UK. The deal, revealed by Resimarketnews here, involves Mill Group taking 190 homes from the housebuilder, mostly on sites in the south east, while Places for People will take on 319 homes on ten sites in the Midlands and north.

The £35.5 million deal sees PFP buying the homes, which will be managed by Touchstone, its private sector rental management company. Savills were involved in assisting Bovis Homes in setting up the financial side of the transaction, which will utilise sites already in Bovis’s land bank.

PFP’s chief executive David Cowans commented: “There is a growing demand for high-quality homes for rent and we are keen to continue to offer more new build houses and flats such as these for private rent, particularly at a time when affordability is at the top of most people’s agendas.”

Places for People is essentially a housing association group, delivering affordable homes for rent, to house tenants via local authority routes. Through its Touchstone subsidiary, the organisation is also offering a growing portfolio of private rented sector homes at market rents.