The exemplary Peckham Partnership project, worth £260 million and one of the largest estate regeneration initiatives in the country, finished in 2008 after a 13 year construction programme. An area of serious deprivation has been radically transformed and it is now a place where people want to live rather than move away from.
The core of the project has been the redevelopment of five housing estates in the London Borough of Southwark (LBS) to provide 2,000 new homes. 600 of the new homes are owner occupied with the remaining homes for rent and shared ownership. The project has also involved the provision of new landmark community buildings including the Peckham Pulse sports and medical centre, a Youth Centre and the now well known Will Allsop designed Peckham Library Lead developer and contractor on the scheme has been Countryside Properties PLC, which helped to set up the Peckham Partnership (Five Estates) Consortium in 1993, and bid successfully in 1994 to be the LBS’s development and manager partner in the regeneration of the five estates.
The programme was launched in 1994 with £60m of Single Regeneration Budget funding, together with private finance from the developers and housing associations, Housing Corporation funding and £47 million from LBS. The partners were able to lever in a total of £290million (of which around £160million came from the development of housing for sale) to spend on initiatives that would improve Peckham’s prospects and reputation.
"Countryside Properties has played a major role as a key partner in the regeneration of Peckham. In the mid 1990s the company made a major contribution towards developing a clear vision for the area. This has been backed, between 1996 and 2008, by the continuous delivery of over 1,100 well designed and constructed new homes of all tenures. Practical and financial support has also been provided by Countryside for the Council's social and economic programme for the area. This has been much appreciated."
Before the scheme started the ‘Five Estates’ comprised some 4,500 homes, almost all of which were flats and maisonettes, owned and let by the local authority with a total of around 11,200 residents. There were high levels of deprivation, with unemployment at 27% and a rapidly declining town centre. Russell Profitt comments: “Ninety-nine per cent of the homes, which were all flats, were owned and let by the council and densities were double the borough average. Some of the estates also had a 25 per cent annual turnover. There was almost no owner-occupier sector.”
Fourteen years on
Fourteen years later and the project has totally reversed the decline of the area with a dramatic effect on the neighbourhood and very substantial improvements in all of the ‘social exclusion’ performance indicators. A recent MORI Poll has also confirmed that Peckham is now a popular place to live. Turnover on affordable housing has reduced from an average of 25 per cent to around three per cent per annum.
One of the most important achievements for the project was creating and developing a housing for sale market where previously none whatsoever existed. Countryside’s commitment to carry out the first housing for sale in the area, eventually totalling 600 new homes, was very successful not only in creating the demand for housing for sale on the former Five Estates, but also throughout the surrounding area.
The space standards of the 1,100 homes for local authority and housing association rental are 10 per cent higher than normal housing association standards to reflect ‘Parker Morris’ standards. For example, a two bed house measures 72 sq m (775 sq ft) and a three bed house is 100 sq m (1,070 sq ft).
Affordable homes range from one bed flats to six bed houses, including provision for the wheelchair disabled. Seventy per cent of homes are houses with gardens; there are no flats above four floors and all flats above three storeys have lifts.
Programme creates local opportunities
The project created 650 construction jobs and 500 other jobs locally through supply chain partnering. It also supported 860 people into employment and helped a further 870 people to achieve recognised qualifications. This contributed to a two thirds reduction in the levels of local unemployment, recorded at 27 per cent in 1995 before the Peckham Partnership programme started.
An Early Years Centre, for children between two and five, has been established. There is direct support for pupils through literacy projects and homework and revision centres. A black mentor scheme has been organised and standards at GCSE and English Key Stage One have improved.
Local health standards have also improved with the establishment of Peckham Pulse, the Lister Health Centre, better housing and new public open space and play facilities. Bus services are much better with new routes, buses and increased frequency of service and provision has been made for a tramway, or dedicated bus route through the area.
"The stigma that was attached to the area has been removed by giving quality, choice, pride and esteem to local people, who also have their own representative on the Peckham Partnership Board."
A Peckham Community Fund has been established and there is a Peckham Voluntary Sector Forum. The local people were involved in the design of the new local parks and Peckham Achievement Awards have been established to recognise individuals who have helped improve life in the area.
An exemplar project
The Peckham regeneration programme undertaken by the partnership is an exemplar project. It has delivered many benefits to both the development and the wider community:
- Financial – it has provided value for money through an innovative volume-based pricing mechanism which encouraged supply-chain partnering and continuous improvement.
- Delivery – The strategic development agreement provided a clear and simple framework which has enabled the consortium to deliver every one of the 13 different phases on or ahead of programme. There have been no legal disputes or claims at any stage during the construction programme. House-builder agreements between Countryside and fellow contractor, Laing, also indemnified the local authority and the housing associations from risk of default.
- Design excellence – the master plan provided a clear framework for the design of each phase, designed by BPTW, PTE and Countryside Properties. There has been a very high and growing degree of involvement by local residents and this has been a major factor in the evolution of the designs.
- Development and construction management – This has been provided throughout by Countryside and Laing in conjunction with Calford Seaden. All building contracts have been based on a standard JCT format; all housing for sale sites have been sold on a fixed price, long leasehold basis.
- Estate management – The project includes nine social landlords – the LBS and eight housing associations, including Hyde and Presentation. Since the start it was recognised that there needed to be a common approach to the provision of housing management services by all the social landlords so a housing management group was established. As well as adopting common standards they have commissioned joint cleaning and gardening services. Joint inspections, including residents, have also been organised. The group continues to explore the provision of further services and ways in which tenants and residents can become involved in influencing the quality of services provided.
- Diversity/creating communities – There has been an intensive programme of tenant and resident consultation over the lifetime of this outstanding example of community regeneration. Resident-led project teams have been established at neighbourhood level to develop community induction and environmental enhancement programmes. In addition, tenants’ and residents’ associations have been established across landlords. A strategy to encourage participation by black and minority ethnic communities has been established with the assistance of a training enabling grant from the Housing Corporation, which is being led by Presentation Housing Association.
Michael Hill, a Director at Countryside Properties who has been closely involved in the Peckham Partnership from the outset, said: “It was essential that we engaged with the local stakeholders and representatives from the adjoining neighbourhoods at the earliest opportunity so their thoughts and views could be included in the planning and delivery process. We held ‘meet the contractor’ days, design meetings and also separate sessions with the leaseholders to ensure a better mutual understanding of the objectives and the constraints that existed and to provide and discuss the options available to residents.
“Consultation was vital to ensure that the residents were able to successfully integrate themselves into their new community and the existing local community. Their involvement in the design team meetings was imperative to ensure the design reflected the way in which the residents wanted to live; it also helped them take ownership of their new homes.
“The ‘decanting programme’ on the project – or rehousing of residents within the scheme - was especially challenging due to the significant reduction in social rented stock proposed under the master plan, as part of a strategy to replace flats with houses. We set up project teams for residents who were to be rehoused into each phase of the project. We enabled neighbours to stay together to help preserve the informal support networks that already existed within the community.
“We employed a number of full-time resident liaison officers (RLOs). An important part of their work was visiting residents before work started, ensuring they were aware of its extent and nature, the likely programme and type of disruption they would experience. The RLOs also helped residents manage packing and moving pets and dealing with issues that ill health or shift work might present. Michael Hill added: “The Peckham Partnership’s social and economic initiatives have helped to bring about dramatic improvements in the life chances for Peckham residents. We have made a significant difference and this project will bring social and community benefits for many years to come.”
The Peckham Partnership includes:
The London Borough of Southwark (LBS)
Family-Mosaic Housing Association
Hyde Housing Association
Presentation Housing Association
The Peckham Tenants’ Forum
Countryside Properties PLC
Architects: BPTW, PTE
Engineers: Countryside Properties, Maunsells and Brand Leonard
Employers’ Agent: Calford Seaden Partnership
The Peckham Regeneration Project has been recognised for its outstanding achievements with a host of prestigious awards, including:
• Short-listed for the ODPM Sustainable Communities Awards 2003
• Special Commendation – Evening Standard Awards 2001 for Best Partnership Development
• What House? Awards 1997 for Best Partnership Development
• The National Housing Awards 1997 for Best Regeneration Scheme
• Dragon Awards 1997 – Corporate Community Involvement
Information correct as at 17/12/2008