We need to lead by example in providing quality homes, says Nigel Davies
Ask Nigel Davies what his primary ambition as chair of Cromwood Housing is and he’ll give you a simple answer: ‘To ensure we provide properties to our tenants that are genuinely homes.’
It sounds like a modest goal, but he knows only too well the reality can be very different for many people living in rented accommodation.
Nigel joined the Cromwood board shortly before retiring from a career in local government that spanned more than 40 years. During that time he’s taken on many senior roles within councils in London including Bromley and Tower Hamlets.
However, his awareness of the importance of housing conditions stems from his early years as an environmental health officer and that experience continues to influence his approach at Cromwood.
‘Lots of my early time in environmental health work involved private rented sector inspections,’ Nigel explains. ‘I was going out to a lot properties that were in a poor state of repair, they were often overcrowded and had significant health and safety issues.
‘Over the prevailing years a lot of work has gone into driving up standards across all types of housing. But it remains a big issue and it has been exacerbated by the shortage of housing in general.’
During the last three years Cromwood has purchased properties across London in order to help meet demand in the capital for specialist social housing for former rough sleepers and those fleeing domestic abuse.
‘One of my main concerns as a board member is we ensure that when we acquire properties we get them to a good condition. We want happy tenants who feel that they don’t just have a roof over their head but have somewhere they can call home.
‘It’s about maintaining and improving on our high standards. By engaging with tenants we can work together to set an example and raise the bar on expectations when it comes to quality accommodation.’
Nigel believes an exciting future lies ahead for Cromwood as it expands as an organisation both within London and across Greater Manchester.
‘We want to grow and to continue to look for opportunities so that we can play an even bigger role in helping to meet the huge demand for social housing. I know from sitting round the table with senior council officers and elected members that housing homeless people in B&Bs just isn’t sustainable from a financial and social point of view.
‘There’s a genuine win-win to be had when organisations like Cromwood grow to meet that demand. But it’s about growing smartly so that we’re able to provide the best quality homes with excellent service for our tenants.’