One-on-one interview: Jerome Geoghegan of L&Q
Our series of exclusive interviews with senior figures from the UK new homes industry kicks of the New Year by posing the questions to Jerome Geoghegan, group director of marketing and sales for WhatHouse? Housing Association of the Year L&Q.
Please tell us a bit about your role and L&Q
I am responsible for L&Q’s work as one of the leading residential developers in London and the South East. For over 50 years we have played a key part in helping to shape one of the most exciting, diverse and dynamic capitals in the world. Now we plan to do even more, creating major developments which will help transform the area, and delivering over 50,000 high-quality new homes to help meet everyone’s needs.
How does the philosophy of L&Q differ from that of a private property developer?
At L&Q we always invest for the long term. Our award-winning, thoughtful plans are designed to create thriving communities for everyone to enjoy for generations to come. We create homes to suit people at every stage of their lives, across a whole range of incomes. And, as a charitable housing association, every penny of any surplus is invested back into providing more new homes and services for our residents.
Which of your current projects are particularly noteworthy right now?
Alongside our extensive programme of Shared Ownership developments, which includes the award-winning Chobham Manor at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, we have some exciting private sale developments currently selling including St Agnes Place, a collection of elegant Georgian-style townhouses next to Kennington Park. In early 2016 we will be coming to market with Quebec Quarter, a major new residential district in Canada Water; and Harvard Gardens, part of Elephant & Castle’s impressive transformation into a destination neighbourhood.
How do you think being the new WhatHouse? Housing Association of the Year will change potential customers' opinion of you?
The WhatHouse? Awards are widely viewed as the most prestigious awards in the housebuilding industry, so it is a great honour as well as a pleasure for us to gain the ultimate accolade of a Gold award. Hopefully this will make people want to find out what we can offer them. While it is important to create more new houses to help everyone gain the home they want, at L&Q we are committed to innovation as well as quality, and excel in designing homes that respond to peoples’ changing lifestyles.
Your PricedIn initiative has been a big success - for those who don't know about it, what does it involve?
Aiming to show that aspiring homeowners do not have to be ‘priced-out’ of the property market, the ‘Priced-In’ campaign has evolved into the ultimate educational resource for Shared Ownership buyers. Our dedicated PricedIn website incorporates extensive video content, including case studies from real-life buyers and dynamic films of local areas, which we have found users are really learning from and engaging with. Visit https://lqpricedin.co.uk/ to see the content for yourself.
What do you make of the government's Autumn Statement pledge to fund 135,000 more Shared Ownership homes?
As property prices continue to rise year-on-year, particularly here in London, Shared Ownership is becoming an increasingly popular route to homeownership – acting as a stepping stone for those who cannot afford to buy a property on the open market. Our high-quality Shared Ownership homes are always in huge demand, and we are delighted that there’s continued support so we can deliver even more.
What's in the pipeline?
Looking ahead, L&Q is committed to creating a pipeline of 50,000 homes within the next 10 years. High-profile future schemes include Acton Gardens, a large-scale regeneration project in the Borough of Ealing, and 298 affordable homes on the site of the historic former Walthamstow [Greyhound] Stadium.