Peter McCormack, the chief executive of Derby-based housing provider Derwent Living, will be adding ‘pedal power’ to a national rally later this month when he cycles from Derby to London.
Peter, along with three colleagues from Derwent Living, is preparing to cycle the 240 km ride – arriving to join the Homes for Britain rally in the capital on 17 March.
The Homes for Britain campaign will see thousands of people from housing organisations across the UK join together to raise awareness of the shortage of homes across the country.
Derwent Living customers will be travelling from Derby to take part in the rally– and to add his support, Peter will do the gruelling cycle ride, arriving in time to join them.
The journey is 240km or 240,000 metres – which is symbolic. Each metre travelled represents one home which should be built each year to keep up with demand, according to government targets set in 2007. Currently, less than half that figure is being reached annually.
“The bike ride and the rally are being held to highlight the housing crisis that is currently gripping our country. In 2007, the government set a target of 240,000 homes to be built every year by 2016, but nationally we aren’t close to that figure. The forthcoming general election this year offers the opportunity to show politicians that the public want to see more homes built, and action taken.”
“New research indicates that only 67% of MPs believe that there is a housing crisis in the UK. That’s a concerning figure, and at a time when politicians are scaling down the obligations of private developers to build affordable homes, it’s more vital than ever that the housing sector makes itself heard and Derwent Living will add its voice.”
The Homes for Britain campaign is a national effort by a number of organisations within the housing and construction sectors, which aims to end the housing crisis within a generation. They are calling on all political parties to commit to a programme of building enough affordable homes to meet the ever increasing demand.
Housing associations like Derwent Living have been relying less on government funding over recent years, said Peter.
The company built more than 300 new homes in 2014 by ploughing its own surpluses from commercial activity into the development of new affordable homes. This is an approach encouraged in the recent publication of The Lyons Housing Review, a paper designed to show how 200,000 new homes each year could be delivered by 2020.
“But to build this amount of properties, despite housing associations doing all they can, more government support is needed in terms of land provision, financial support and changes in planning policy.”
Peter and his colleagues will set off from the new Derby Arena close to the Derwent Living HQ in Pride Park.
“We’re looking forward to the bike ride; it’s going to be a huge challenge but we’re more than ready for it.”