21 May 2004
One of Britain's best-known housing associations has been criticised by inspectors for not doing enough to meet the decent homes standard.
According to the Audit Commission, the Peabody Trust spends too much time developing 'cutting edge' schemes and has neglected its traditional housing, much of which pre-dates 1900.
Peabody admitted at the end of last year that it would struggle to meet the 2010 target date for bringing all homes up to standard. The trust, which owns almost 20,000 properties in London, needs to spend a further £156m upgrading about 8,000 homes.
But the commission, in a report published last Tuesday, says Peabody has failed to tackle the problem sufficiently or narrow down its options. 'Unlike many of its peers, the trust has not taken appropriate action to address the government's decent homes standard and it is unlikely that it will meet the 2010 target,' it adds.
Peabody has spent £48m improving properties in the past three years, but the commission criticises it for allowing work to fall behind schedule.
In December, the trust made 51 staff redundant and later received only an 'amber' rating for financial viability in the Housing Corporation's traffic light ratings system.
Steve Howlett, who became chief executive in March, said the trust had made progress in some areas but accepted that it must improve more rapidly.