As one of our Pilot Group, Peabody and the Thamesmead team in particular, have been part of Greenkeeper from the outset, driven by the opportunity their vision for enhancement of the Thamesmead, in the London Boroughs of Bexley and the Royal Borough of Greenwich, present. Spanning an area the size of central London or the city of Winchester, Thamesmead offers an opportunity to deliver 20,000 new homes, thousands of new jobs and wider uses. Balancing these long-term ambitions with immediate need for investment and improvement, making a transformative difference for existing and future communities.

The Greenkeeper team joined a group of consultants in 2019, to review the extensive, yet under-utilised greenspace provision across Thamesmead, applying our tool to inform and support change, addressing questions such as:

What is the baseline current value that Thamesmead’s existing greenspaces currently provide? What is their growth in estimated visitors and value, given the proposed development and new residents?  How could this value be used to inform a strategy for enhancement and re-provision as the masterplan for development advances?

To do this we used our Greenkeeper estimates, to understand the value Thamesmead’s current greenspaces, if they were to remain as below average performers, for greenspaces of their scale, but the population local to them were to increase 3-fold. The diagram below demonstrates the projected visitor numbers and therefore value increase in line with the population addition.

Low performing blue and green infrastructure
Based on predicted visits and UK urban averages
High performing blue and green infrastructure
Based on assumed increase in visits from investment
2020
31,000 residents
£13m per year or £280m over 30 years £23m per year
2050
100,000 residents
£37m per year £71m per year or £900m over 30 years

Alongside the same uplift in population, if the consultancy team and resultant Masterplan could include the same population growth but also significant enhancements to these spaces, and therefore deliver an ‘above average’ performing portfolio, the estimated value delivered is 7 times larger per annum and grows over Peabody’s 30 year investment period.

This evidence has had a significant impact on Peabody’s ability to support an ambitious development strategy. When assessing the cost to implement the enhancements to greenspace, the evidence was clear that the returns on investment would be compelling for residents and for a long-term landlord such as Peabody. Greenkeeper’s outputs are hugely helpful in supporting Peabody’s approach to funding these interventions, both in terms of convincing a board or investor, and critically influencing the contributions and investments from their delivery partners.

The outputs are also extremely helpful in presenting the case for change to their existing residents. Change is always challenging, but by demonstrating how growth for Thamesmead can also result in huge enhancements in services from greenspace for everyone, a more compelling case for change can quickly be made.

Dr Phil Askew, Director of Landscape and Placemaking in Thamesmead for Peabody said “The Greenkeeper team have really added value to our proposition demonstrating that good quality green infrastructure can bring massive benefits. Through our work, we’ve been able to clearly evidence the challenges around health and wellbeing and the clear link and role green infrastructure can play in addressing these. These findings will directly influence how we approach our work to make Thamesmead a great place to live, work and visit.”

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