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The award was presented as part of the Alan Cherry Debate, where the topic this year was “Can the public sector lead on housing supply post-Brexit?” - a question that the whole market is debating. Stacked against obstacles alone, the answer should be “no”. London local authorities must serve rapidly changing and growing populations with shrinking budgets, conflicting policy pressures and yet-to-be-defined fiscal powers under business rates reform. Local authority strengths – planning and CPO powers, land ownership, and access to low-cost finance – give them a pivotal role in meeting London housing need, and their social mandate sets them up to deliver it well, but what is needed now is private and public sector joined-up thinking.
James Murray, Deputy Mayor, Housing and Residential Development at the GLA and David Lunts, Executive Director, Housing & Land and Simon Powell, Assistant Director of Strategic Projects and Property at the GLA presented the award to Richard Barrett, who is heading up the regeneration of the South Kilburn Estate in Brent. Richard grew up on the South Kilburn Estate witnessing the problems of antisocial behaviour, poor infrastructure and poor maintenance first hand as well as the community spirit which despite the issues made it a good place to live. He is fortunate to be able to return in a professional capacity to help Brent Council regenerate and improve the area for the current tenants and residents. The scheme demonstrates the ability of a Local Authority to lead the process of enlightened city building by commissioning and delivering housing of the highest calibre to integrate previously segregated communities.
Richard Barrett, commented on his award: “I was completely stunned to receive this recognition. This award is a great testament to the hard work of all my team and the vision of Brent Council that together we can deliver quality and places where people want to live, and also create new opportunities to boost the local economy. The idea behind the regeneration of South Kilburn was to knit the area back into its geographical context and to create an environment that would allow people to improve their lives, and to aspire and believe.
James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development at the GLA, said: “The placemaking award recognises Richard’s professional regeneration work, which is making difference to the lives of Londoners by creating new homes and places that people can be proud of.”
Ian Sutcliffe, Group CEO at Countryside Properties, said: “Our Company’s mission statement is ‘Places People Love’, conveying its focus on place making, design quality, strategic planning and sustainable development. Richard Barrett has been successful in Brent’s 48-hectare South Kilburn Estate regeneration where he grew up. Witnessing the problems of antisocial behaviour and poor infrastructure, there is now a new park, a medical centre and primary school is on the way, and new community space and infrastructure. Cul-de-sacs and alleys, where you would have been “brave or foolish to go at certain times”, are no more.”
The Alan Cherry Award for Placemaking is awarded to a public figure who has made a significant contribution to placemaking in their communities.
Countryside’s founder, Alan Cherry, firmly believed that the company should construct developments that radiate character and provide the neighbourhood with a sense of place. As one of the UK’s leading and most respected development companies, Countryside is proud to specialise in the creation of new communities and regeneration.
Alan Cherry’s vision was always to create places for people where they could enjoy a high quality of life and was realised at projects such as Greenwich Millennium Village in London, Great Notley Garden Village in Braintree and St Mary’s Island in Chatham, where his legacy is there for all to see.
Not only did Alan put his vision into practice with good development design, environmental quality and placemaking at the developments, he was an ambassador to these principles and would regularly speak with policy makers and politicians to help shape their thinking.
Photo L-R Ian Sutcliffe, James Murray, Richard Barrett