THE Government’s development quango, Homes England, has launched its first five-year strategic plan intended to “make homes happen”.
Homes England was launched in January this year; created out of the old Homes & Communities Agency. Its new plan, which runs until 2022/23, sets out what the agency has said are far-reaching delivery objectives. These include:
- Unlock public and private land where the market will not, to get more homes built where they are needed
- Ensure a range of investment products are available to support housebuilding and infrastructure, including more affordable housing and homes for rent, where the market is not acting
- Improve construction productivity
- Create a more resilient and competitive market by supporting smaller builders and new entrants, and promoting better design and higher quality homes
- Offer expert support for priority locations, helping to create and deliver more ambitious plans to get more homes built
- Effectively deliver home ownership products, providing an industry standard service to consumers
“Ultimately, we need to disrupt the housing market,” said the organisation’s chair, Sir Edward Lister. “Homes England plans to be bold, creative and think big. We hope the whole of the housing sector – big and small, up and down the country – will join us for the next five years and beyond.”
Nick Walkley, Homes England’s chief executive, added: “The new Homes England is all about making homes happen – and our new five-year plan sets out our ambitious new approach. We are committing to boosting housing supply, productivity, innovation, quality, skills and modern methods of construction to help make a more diverse and resilient market. In return, we are calling for partners and the wider industry who share our ambition to challenge traditional norms and build better homes faster.”
The plan has been welcomed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. (MHCLG).
“This Government is committed to delivering 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s and help more people get on the housing ladder. Homes England is at the heart of these plans,” said housing secretary James Brokenshire MP.
“I welcome their comprehensive vision that sets out how through their powers and expertise they will maximise government investment to deliver the homes communities need.”
The five-year strategic plan follows the Budget announcement of seven more strategic partnerships with housing associations, which will deliver an additional 13,475 affordable homes by March 2022.
The new partnerships will secure a total of £653 million in funding from the Affordable Homes Programme, delivered through Homes England, including homes for social rent in areas of “high affordability pressures”.
The housing associations involved in the second wave of strategic partnerships are: Platform Housing Group; Guinness and Stonewater partnership; Optivo; Southern Housing Group; Orbit; Thirteen and Vivid.
This is in addition to the first eight strategic partnership deals announced in early July, bringing the total number of additional affordable homes that will be delivered to 27,755.