Places for People

Places for People

Places for People is one of the largest property management, development and regeneration companies in the UK.[1]

Places for People is made of up 13 companies, has assets in excess of £2.9 billion, and manages more than 62,000 homes. It builds and manage homes, provides job and training opportunities, supports new and existing businesses, offers financial products such as mortgages and loans, and specialist care and support services that enable people to live independently in their own home.[2]



Places for People was founded as North British Housing Association in 1965. Bristol Churches Housing Association joined the group in 1999, and the name was changed to Places for People Group Ltd on the 1st June 2000.[3]

Group companies

Places for People is made of up 13 companies including:

  • Place for People Homes, a housing association which is responsible for the majority of the Group's homes across the country;
  • Places for People Developments which is behind a number of award winning developments and long-term regeneration projects involving masterplanning and community consultation;
  • Places for People Individual Support - a care and support specialist which provides housing and support to older people, those with a disability or mental health problem, women escaping domestic abuse and homeless people; includes Kush, black and minority ethnic specialist in London;
  • Places for People Neighbourhoods - a community services company which works with other parts of the business as well as external partners to create better facilities and opportunities in neighbourhoods;
  • Places for People Financial Services which offers mortgages, affordable loans, home contents insurance and budget advice;

Other Group companies are Places for Children, Places for People Care and Support Scotland, Places for People Landscapes, Cotman, Castle Rock Edinvar, Blueroom Properties, Lothian Homes, and Emblem Homes.[4]


Housing groups borrow money to pay for new homes and improvements. Like some other large groups, Places for People raises money from investors by issuing corporate bonds in its own name.[5]

As the late-2000s financial crisis progressed, first-time buyers had difficulty in obtaining bank mortgages. Places for People was the first housing group to respond by providing mortgages for shared ownership or 100% buyers on its own developments.[6]

In April 2008 Places For People launched the 'Ownhome' equity loan scheme in partnership with the Co-operative Bank. This was aimed at enabling first time buyers, key workers and occupants of social housing to purchase homes on the open market through a combination of a standard co-operative bank mortgage for between 60-80% of value with the balance funded via an equity loan from Places for People. The scheme ended in April 2010 when funding support for the equity loan was withdrawn by the government.

In 2010 the group recorded a £25 million impairment in the value of its assets, the largest write-down by a UK housing association up to that date.[7]

Places for People raised the social housing sector's first unsecured UK bond in May 2011.[8]


Places for People has won various awards, including the What House Award two years running for its Wolverton Park development in Milton Keynes - in 2009 for Best Large Development, and 2010 for Best Brownfield Development. Wolverton Park was also named Best Large Development at the Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2010.

Other awards include:

  • St Thomas' School, where a school has been rebuilt using the proceeds of 69 apartments built above it, was named the Best Partnership between a Developer and the Public Sector, at the Housebuilder Innovation Awards. The regeneration of Walker Riverside in Newcastle was highly commended in the Community Award category.[9]
  • The regeneration of St Paul's Park in Bristol was awarded a Green Flag Award. The Green Flag Award is the national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales, and complements the Local Government Street Design Award which was won by the park in 2008.
  • Places for People's housing management degree course for employees, run by De Montfort University, won an Innovation Award in the ‘Best training/staff initiative’ category.[9]
  • The Housing Corporation's 2008 Gold Award for Worklessness. This award recognises work to get people into jobs, training and employment as well as supporting new and existing businesses.
  • The Housing Corporation's 2007 Gold Award for Environmental Sustainability.[10]
  • Its development at Granton Waterfront picked up both Best Residential Project and Best Regeneration Project at the Scottish Design Awards 2007.
  • Kush Housing Association, based in Hackney and providing housing to people who are primarily of black and minority ethnic origin,[11] won Outstanding Community Project for Young People at the Black Housing Awards 2007 for its Akaba (steps to employment) project.[12]


In September 2003, the group suffered a crisis in governance, with a damaging row between board members and chief executive David Cowans over the latter's pay during a time of rapid growth. The group's regulator, the Housing Corporation, placed it into supervision until July 2004, appointing additional board members and imposing other sanctions.[13] Cowans is among the sector's highest-paid executives, and his pay attracted further media attention in 2005 after a backdated pension settlement.[14]

In 2010 the high salaries of housing association executives drew criticism from the incoming government, in particular that the second highest paid executive at a housing association was the chief executive of Places for People, earning £297,000 per year.[15]


  1. ^ "Places for People... the UK's largest housing and regeneration group", Homeless International, 15 Jan 2007[dead link]
  2. ^ Our companies on official website
  3. ^ "History". group website. Archived from the original on 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  4. ^ Structure chart
  5. ^ Bond tap nets Places for People £150m, Inside Housing, 23 Dec 2008
  6. ^ Social landlord bypasses banks to provide 100% mortgages, Public Finance, CIPFA, 29 June 2009
  7. ^ Landlord suffers £25m land hit, Inside Housing, 15 October 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
  8. ^ Places for People issues £175m bond, Inside Housing, 20 May 2011
  9. ^ a b Awards on group website. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Places for People Group: 2007 Gold Award winner". Housing Corporation. Archived from the original on 2007-12-20. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  11. ^ "Kush Housing Association". Places for People. Archived from the original on 2008-05-26. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  12. ^ "Awards". Places for People. Archived from the original on 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  13. ^ Why governance style matters, Inside Housing, 30 July 2004
  14. ^ Windfall for chief after pay bungle, Inside Housing, 19 Aug 2005
  15. ^ Robert Winnett, Andrew Porter, Holly Watt (2 June 2010). "Housing association chief on £400,000 a year". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 

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