Estate transformation provides the blueprint for a housing revolution

4th February 2014

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The rebuilding of a North London housing estate, parts of which were so distressed it was used as the set of the film Schindler's List, has led to 90% of residents saying they are satisfied with their lives in the new surroundings.

That figure outperforms the national average by an extraordinary 30%.

The findings are contained in a new report looking at life in Woodberry Down. The site in Hackney is undergoing an unprecedented 25-year regeneration as 2,000 existing homes are replaced with 5,000 new ones, and the space transformed by new shops, a school, community centre, crèches, gyms, and public realm.

Planning Minister Nick Boles MP will today help launch the report and a toolkit called Creating Successful Places, which the Berkeley Group hopes will act as a blueprint for future housing.

Berkeley Group Chairman, Tony Pidgley CBE, believes that the thinking behind Woodberry Down can help ensure the success of a new generation of housebuilding.

'In our desire to deliver more homes, we have to focus on creating places where people can thrive. In the past, housing booms have often created dreary places. This time, it must be different. This toolkit provides a blueprint for regeneration and all the new development Britain needs to beat the housing crisis.'

Fundamental to the success of Woodberry Down has been the way that local people are actively involved in decision making. An influential resident's organisation and a local social enterprise, the Manor House Development Trust, have played a major role in the development so far.

Today's report finds that 71% of people living at Woodberry Down feel able to influence local decisions, compared to an average of just 40% across the UK.

For more information and to download the report and toolkit visit

Press Contacts:

Berkeley Group: Matt Bell, 07825.196143; Rupal Parmar, 07585.882914.

Notes to editors:

1. Summary of research data at Woodberry Down

Woodberry Down London UK Comparable places
I feel like I belong to the neighbourhood 80% 62% 67% 74%
I feel safe after dark 71% 65% 74% 79%
I feel able to influence decisions 71% 48% 40% 41%
I plan to remain in the neighbourhood 84% 63% 68% 73%
Satisfied with life overall 90% Not available 60% 77%

Data drawn from an independent social sustainability assessment carried out by planning consultancy, Quod (2014):

2. Comment from other organisations

"This is a seminal work for the housebuilding and placemaking sector. It has a particular resonance with us at Peabody as a long-term London landlord with a 151 year history that cares deeply about the neighbourhoods we create and manage."
Peabody Housing Association

"The industry puts a lot of effort into assessing the financial viability and environmental impact of development. But this work breaks new ground in measuring its social sustainability. Ultimately it is people that matter, and for any long-term investor knowing what impact they are having on communities over time must be important."
British Property Federation

"We welcome this toolkit. It goes beyond the economic and environmental impacts of development and considers the practical and operational aspects of delivering positive social outcomes from new development. You have to consider the social dimension of sustainability to create environments that offer Londoners a good quality of life."
Greater London Authority

3. About the Berkeley Group

  • The Berkeley Group build homes and neighbourhoods. We focus on creating beautiful, successful places.
  • In 2012, the Berkeley Group sustained 16,000 jobs and generated £2.6 billion of economic activity in Britain.
  • The Berkeley Group is publicly-owned and listed on the London Stock Exchange as a FTSE 250 company.
  • The Berkeley Group was voted Britain's second Most Admired Company across all industries in 2013 and has been ranked Britain's most sustainable major housebuilder for the last eight years in a row by the Next Generation benchmark.
  • The Berkeley Foundation supports young people and their communities across London and the South of England through charitable donations and the talent and time of our staff.


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