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11/01/2018

Homes England launches

Words: Laura Edgar
Sajid Javid / Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Housing secretary Sajid Javid has launched national housing agency Homes England, the successor to the Homes and Communities Agency.

The move was set out in 2017’s Autumn Budget.

The government said Homes England will bring together the body’s existing planning expertise and its new land-buying powers to play a “major role” in securing land in areas where people want to live, support SME builders into the market and resource brownfield sites.

Homes England will work with the government as it looks to deliver its target of 300,000 homes a year and “fix the broken housing market”.

Javid launched Homes England while on a visit to Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, a former airfield that is expected to deliver 5,000 new homes.

Javid said: “This government is determined to build the homes our country needs and help more people get on the housing ladder. Homes England will be at the heart of leading this effort.

“The development at Alconbury is a prime example of how the agency has worked to deliver thousands of new homes, as well as improve roads and create space for local businesses.

“The new agency will be key in replicating this approach right across the country and will help us build a Britain fit for the future.”

Sir Ed Lister, chairman of Homes England, added: “We will take the lead in delivering better-quality homes and great places that set the bar high for others. We will also stimulate demand for Modern Methods of Construction and ultimately disrupt the housing market.”


Reaction:

Melanie Leech, chief executive at British Property Federation, said: “We welcome the launch of the new Homes England, and we look forward to working even more closely on the delivery of much-needed new homes across the UK. It’s clear there is growing momentum behind the government’s housing agenda and we are delighted with the continuing policy support for a multi-tenure approach to housing supply, creating great places and the remediation of land. This will be vital if the housing white paper and the changes to the National Planning Policy Framework have any chance of making a significant impact on volume and affordability.”

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesman, said: “We are pleased to see the launch of Homes England with a focus on building more homes.

“For it to be a success, it is crucial that the agency works positively with local government to deliver the mix of homes, infrastructure and places that people want to see. Every local housing market is different and councils must be able to combine and use Homes England funding flexibly to meet local need and take local opportunities.

“Councils must be part of the solution to our chronic housing shortage and able to resume their historic role as a major builder of affordable homes. All councils need to be able to borrow to invest in desperately-needed new homes and keep 100 per cent of Right to Buy receipts to replace sold homes.”


Image credit | Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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