A new national housing agency – Homes England – has today (11 January 2018) been launched by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid as one of the key steps towards delivering the homes the country needs.
As the successor to the Homes and Communities Agency, Homes England will drive forward change, as set out in the government’s housing white paper.
By bringing together their existing planning expertise and new land buying powers, the new agency will play a major role in securing land in areas where people want to live, support smaller and more innovative house builders into the market and resource brownfield sites from across the country to deliver homes for families.
Homes England will play a major role in fixing the housing market by helping to deliver an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.
Visiting Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, a former airfield which will bring 5,000 new homes, the Housing Secretary toured the 1,420 acre site which is just one of the many locations across the country receiving government funding to build more homes.
Housing Secretary Sajid 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.
Nick Walkley, Chief Executive of Homes England, said:
As Homes England, we will use our land, finance and expertise to expand the delivery of affordable new homes and connect ambitious partners to remove barriers to house building.
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.
The launch of Homes England is just one of the steps this government is taking to fix the broken housing market. Since 2010, government has delivered more than 1.1 million homes and Help to Buy has supported over 255,000 people to buy a property.
Around 310 local authorities have now published a brownfield register, revealing over 26,000 hectares of developable land on over 16,000 sites. More registers expected to be published over the next few weeks. By prioritising both the areas where people want to live and developers can build, Homes England will use the registers to progress brownfield development across the country.
The agency has already been supporting developments across the country including 10,000 new homes on a brownfield site northwest of Cambridge and a 3,200 new homes site in South Yorkshire.
Homes England will develop a new commercial approach to acquiring, preparing, managing and developing land in areas of high demand and strategic importance. By focusing on using both the land and money to support builders of all sizes to increase supply will continue to support accelerated construction on a selection of sites.
Meeting housing demand is also about supporting the SME sector and over £750 million of the £1 billion short term fund has been committed to SMEs, custom builders and developers using modern methods of construction which will result in over 25,500 homes being built. Homes England will support this initiative and SME builders to grow their businesses and build more homes.
The Homes and Communities Agency was established in 2008 as the government’s housing, land and regeneration agency, and the regulator of social housing providers in England.
The Chancellor announced that the Homes and Communities Agency will be launched as Homes England during the Autumn Budget in 2017.
Homes England is lending £45.07 million to Urban&Civic through the Home Building Fund to ramp up the delivery of 4,507 homes by funding enabling works and infrastructure. The loan will be repaid over 11 years as serviced land is sold to house builders.
Approximately 310 local authorities have published a brownfield register, which reveal over 26,000 hectares of developable land.
The £1 billion short term fund is part of the Home Building Fund which also consists of a £2 billion long term fund for infrastructure. A further £1.5 billion was announced in the Autumn Budget for the short term fund.
Government has previously announced that the Regulator of Social Housing will be separated from the Agency and established as a standalone organisation. Homes England will be a commercially-focused land and investment agency.
See further details about the new Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.