The salary of the chief executive of Places for People, the UK’s largest housing association, fell 5% over the past year, according to the company’s accounts.

David Cowans was the highest paid chief executive in the sector last year with a total remuneration of £298,000. This has fallen to £282,000, making him the third highest paid.

Over the past year, Places for People’s payroll has fallen from about 1,200 to 1,082, a decline of 10%; it has spent £1.4m on severance pay.

Places for People made an annual pre-tax profit to 31 March of £22.5m, compared with £1.7m in 2009; turnover rose by 10%, from £312m to £347m.

The group built 1,087 homes during the year and said it had 1,818 in development at the year end. It said it would spend £243m on building these out in 2011.

The company’s borrowing position worsened significantly over the year. Loans worth £225m are due before the end of March 2011, almost double the £118m figure in the previous year. In total the organisation’s debt has reached £1.63bn, compared with £1.6bn in 2009.

Places for People, which is a not-for-dividend organisation, is based in London, but manages about 60,000 homes throughout Great Britain.