Lure of large projects behind Ealing chief’s Be First switch

Ealing council’s housing chief, Pat Hayes, is leaving the local authority to become managing director of Be First, Barking and Dagenham’s arm’s-length regeneration company.

Hayes, currently executive director of regeneration and housing at Ealing, was named at a Barking and Dagenham council event on Tuesday and will take up his post in the next few months.

He has worked at Ealing for 10 years, and told Property Week that the move would allow him to work on larger projects.

“I was planning on staying here, and this happened to come up. In Barking there is more opportunity because there’s a lot more developable land,” he said.

Be First is owned by the council but has an independent board, chaired by former head of the civil service Bob Kerslake.

Under Hayes, the company will directly develop homes in the borough, work with developers on planning applications and help to assemble sites.

“It’s the arm’s-length nature of it that interests me. [Ealing] has a housing company that does build-to-rent, which is a similar model but on a smaller scale. I’ve developed a concept in Ealing, but Barking is a concept taken to a much larger scale, and across a much larger range of functions.”

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