Places for People

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

PfP is made of up 16 companies, has assets in excess of £3.3 billion, and manages more than 143,000 homes. Places for People companies deliver a number of services including:

  • building and managing homes
  • providing job and training opportunities
  • supporting new and existing businesses
  • offering financial products such as mortgages and loans
  • providing specialist care and support services that enable people to live independently in their own home.


PfP 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.[2]

Group companies[edit]

Places for People is made of up 16 companies including:

  • Place for People Homes, the Group's property management arm responsible for 48000 of the Group's homes across England and Wales
  • Places for People Developments is behind a number of award-winning developments and long-term regeneration projects involving masterplanning and community consultation;
  • Places for People Individual Support is 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 supports the long term sustainability of PfP neighbourhoods by pursuing a strategy to bring lasting social benefits. PfP neighbourhoods focusses on key areas of economic development, green spaces, financial inclusion and young people
  • Places for People Financial Services which offers mortgages, affordable loans, home contents insurance and budget advice;

Other Group companies include:

  • Places for People Capital Markets
  • Places for People Landscapes
  • Places for People Green Services
  • Places for People International
  • Cotman Housing Association
  • Castle Rock Edinvar
  • Touchstone
  • Places for People Leisure (formerly DC Leisure)
  • Residential Management Group (RMG)
  • Places for People Scotland
  • Places for People Scotland Care and Support [3]


Housing groups borrow money to pay for new homes and improvements. Like some other large groups, PfP raises money from investors by issuing corporate bonds in its own name.[4]

As the late-2000s financial crisis progressed, first-time buyers had difficulty in obtaining bank mortgages. PfP was the first housing group to respond by providing mortgages for shared ownership or 100% buyers on its own developments.[5]

In April 2008 PfP 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.[6]

PfP raised the social housing sector's first unsecured UK bond in May 2011.[7]


PfP has won various awards, and is the only housing provider to have been named Landlord of the Year twice at Property Week's RESI awards, winning the accolade in both 2012 and 2014.

Other awards include:

  • Product of the Year Award for Neighbourhub, PfP's neighbourhood management system and Best Tenant Care Award at the 2014 Housing Excellence Awards [8]
  • Housebuilder of the Year award at the 2013 Building Awards for the quality and design of homes at their Brooklands, Wolverton Park and Marlborough Park developments [9]
  • DC Leisure, now Places for People Leisure, was named as Leisure Centre Operator of the Year at the 2013 Flame Awards [10]
  • Best Social or Affordable Housing Award for the regeneration of Woodcock Street in Hull at the 2012 National Building Excellence Awards
  • 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.
  • 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.[11]
  • 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.
  • PfP's housing management degree course for employees, run by De Montfort University, won an Innovation Award in the ‘Best training/staff initiative’ category.[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • 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,[13] won Outstanding Community Project for Young People at the Black Housing Awards 2007 for its Akaba (steps to employment) project.[14]


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.[15] Cowans is among the sector's highest-paid executives, and his pay attracted further media attention in 2005 after a backdated pension settlement.[16]

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.[17]

In August 2014 a member of staff at leisure subsidiary Places for People Leisure mistakenly informed a customer that breastfeeding was banned at its Newport Pagnell pool. This was subsequently proven to be a misunderstanding and Places for People Leisure confirmed breastfeeding was not banned at its leisure facilities.[18]


  1. ^ "Places for People... the UK's largest housing and regeneration group", Homeless International, 15 Jan 2007[dead link]
  2. ^ "History". group website. Archived from the original on 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2011-08-20. 
  3. ^ Our companies on official website
  4. ^ Bond tap nets Places for People £150m, Inside Housing, 23 Dec 2008
  5. ^ Social landlord bypasses banks to provide 100% mortgages, Public Finance, CIPFA, 29 June 2009
  6. ^ Landlord suffers £25m land hit, Inside Housing, 15 October 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
  7. ^ Places for People issues £175m bond, Inside Housing, 20 May 2011
  8. ^ Housing Excellence 2014 winners
  9. ^ Building Awards 2013 winners list
  10. ^ Flame Awards 2013 winners list
  11. ^ a b Awards on group website. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Places for People Group: 2007 Gold Award winner". Housing Corporation. Archived from the original on 2007-12-20. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  13. ^ "Kush Housing Association". Places for People. Archived from the original on 2008-05-26. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  14. ^ "Awards". Places for People. Archived from the original on 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  15. ^ Why governance style matters, Inside Housing, 30 July 2004
  16. ^ Windfall for chief after pay bungle, Inside Housing, 19 Aug 2005
  17. ^ Robert Winnett, Andrew Porter, Holly Watt (2 June 2010). "Housing association chief on £400,000 a year". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  18. ^ "Newport Pagnell mother in pool breastfeeding rule row". BBC. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

(charitable subsidiary)