News in London and beyond

Kidbrooke, Woolwich

Berkeley Homes look to cut 200 jobs: Impact at Woolwich, Kidbrooke & Thamesmead?

Old and new in Woolwich

Berkeley Homes are reported to be looking at cutting 200 staff – or 10 per cent of their workforce.

In a sign of future housing supply problems and an expected 16 per cent fall in prices by the Bank of England, other construction companies are also shedding jobs. This could have a major impact on future housebuilding across Greenwich borough given their role at Woolwich and Kidbrooke – and a planned development alongside Peabody in Thamesmead.

Two of five Woolwich towers

Berkeley Homes are currently on site at two of five planned towers in Woolwich. Other projects in the town in coming years are building on part of the existing Maribor Park alongside Beresford Street.

Site plan

In Kidbrooke a number of towers are rising near Kidbrooke station. The company have regularly revised up the total number of homes across Kidbrooke Village. Whether future stages enter hiatus will be one to watch.

New homes in Kidbrooke

Thamesmead plans include nearly 1,500 homes on a site between Belmarsh prison and Plumstead bus garage named West Thamesmead Gateway.

New homes by Plumstead gyratory

This could be a further setback and delay to Peabody plans to build homes in the town given glacial progress since they arrived in town through a takeover of Gallions Housing Association. Less than 100 homes have been built more than five years after a Housing Zone was announced. I wrote about plans for West Thamesmead Gateway two and a half years ago and little has happened.

With transport cuts in London throwing any Thamesmead DLR extension even further back, any real progress will be limited unless government changes tack and invests directly in housing and infrastructure. Given political games being played over TfL funding, that seems a long shot even if government can currently borrow money with negative interest rates on bonds i.e they are being paid to borrow money. That would be rather a good time to invest for long term returns (and lower vast housing benefit bills paid to private landlords) but will that overcome ideology stating the private sector rules?

10 Comments

  1. Is this the Berkeley Homes that is expected to report a profit of £475m for the last quarter and planned to return £1bn pounds to shareholders over the next couple of years? Doubtless, it also took advantage of the government’s furlough scheme.

    • CDT

      A lot of companies that took advantage of the Government’s furlough scheme are now laying staff off so I am not surprised by this news. However, I think Berkeley Homes could re-invest some of their expected £475 m profits to safeguard jobs.

      I really feel for the people that could loose their jobs in the consstruction indusrty at such a very difficult time already with Covid-19.

      Experts are saying we can expect a large rise in unemployment when the furlough scheme ends in the autumn.

      I hope the developments that have been started around the Borough of Greenwich will be able to be completed.

      With the Government investing a little more in housing to allow this.

      All future land/buildings sold by Local Authiorities should now be set aside for social housing at affordable rents like a lot of other London Boroughs are already doing. .

      • The furlough scheme has been a win-win for many businesses. The government has been picking up the tab for employees who could not work and when the scheme comes to an end, many jobs will go with it.

  2. Sim

    House prices won’t fall by anywhere near 16%, there will no doubt be a drop in demand from UK buyers, but this is nothing more than an opportunist move by a cash hungry developer with very few, if any morals.

    Royal Arsenal is pretty much entirely foreign owned, most UK buyers know that £600k+ for a two bed flat in Woolwich is very bad value for money. The foreign demand will only increase if there’s the potential for buyers from Hong Kong to gain residency, as a result of UK’s offer over the dispute with China over new security laws.

    • Mark

      I’d love to see the evidence to substantiate that Royal Arsenal is pretty much entirely foreign owned.

    • Comment by post author

      fromthemurkydepths

      That is said by people before every price correction ever. Millions losing their jobs isn’t compensated by overseas buyers. Many overseas buyers are people buying for their children at UK unis. They’ll be no intake this autumn.

    • HK

      House prices have already fallen 8-10% in the borough(if I remember correctly according to a previous article on this site), so a 16% drop is easily possible

    • Nationwide has just made it harder for property buyers as it has cut the lending to 85% of the purchase price.

      I don’t think we will see a crash in house prices as the government just won’t allow it. Too many of their backers have assets tied up in the construction industry.

  3. Graham

    To be honest property prices and private rents could do with a fall in price. They are way over priced for many local working people who cannot afford to buy on their salaries.

    Private rents are also too high in the Borough for people who work and are not entitled to housing benefits leaving them struggling to make ends meet each month.

    • CDT

      I totally agree with you. Single people and childless couples who are not also entitled to tax credits make this even harder for many to buy or privately rent in the Borough as many private rents are now over £1000 per month

      We do need more social housing at local affordable rents.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.