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Kerslake: ‘We want to invest in good design’

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Peabody chairman Bob Kerslake has stressed the importance of good design in tackling the housing crisis and renewed his criticisms of the government’s Right to Buy extension

In a speech at the AJ120 breakfast on Friday (20 November), the head of the progressive housing association said that ‘if you get design right then any concerns about market sales go away’.

He added: ‘We can’t let the need for additional supply to reduce the quality of the homes we are building. We can have more homes better homes.’

Speaking about the current housing crisis, the former head of the Department for Communities and Local Government, criticised the government’s move to focus on home ownership.

‘The government has decided home ownership should be key’, he said.

‘But this will be self-defeating. The only way [of increasing home ownership] is by increasing supply. However, initiatives – like the Right to Buy – will work against this.’

Peabody currently owns 28,000 properties across the capital and has another 8,000 in the pipeline with plans to build 1,000 homes per year.

He also spoke about the housing association’s work at Thamesmead, where it is working with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, Alison Brooks Architects, and Pitman Tozer on a development which includes around 14,000 homes.

Kerslake said there would be more work up for grabs on the Proctor and Matthews and Mecanoo-masterplanned development which is expected to generate more than £20 million in architecture fees.

The client of the Stirling Prize-shortlisted Darbishire Place, said that like at the Niall McLaughlin-designed development, the housing authority hoped to create ‘not a scheme, but a place’ at Thamesmead.

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