- April 5, 2018
- Posted by: Rianna Mitchell
- Category: CT Blog
Nick Walkley, Chief Executive at Homes England gives an overview of the the recently refreshed Homes England.
This is already proving to be a year of significant change for Homes England. The re-purposing of our organisation was the chancellor’s headline announcement at the autumn budget at the end of last year. I then started the new year by hosting secretary of state Sajid Javid at the Alconbury site to launch Homes England. This former airbase is being transformed with up to 5,000 new homes and is a great example of the successful creation of new communities that Homes England needs to help replicate in many more places.
More than a name change
In creating Homes England as a new organisation this is much more than a name change. Homes England will act differently from its predecessor the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). We are adopting a more commercial approach by bringing together money, land, expertise and planning and compulsory purchase powers to accelerate the supply of new homes and address affordability issues.
This means we can respond to the long-term housing challenges facing this country by playing a far bigger role in investing in supply to help deliver the government’s ambition of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. This simply can’t be achieved by doing more of the things we’ve always done. It will mean taking a more activist approach – intervening in the market to drive the development industry and house builders to change with us.
As Homes England we want to intervene in markets differently and work with a wider group of stakeholders. This means from small developers – through the excellent work already being done with our £3 billion Home Building Fund – to international investors. The enthusiasm among partners and the wider industry for this more assertive approach over the weeks since our ministerial launch has been striking. It is clear that there is broad support for our mandate and for us to play a more proactive role.
My initial priorities for the year ahead are to make sure Homes England continues delivery of our existing programmes – making sure we don’t take our eye off the ball while we build a new organisation capable of responding to the country’s long-term housing challenges. And then making sure we step up to these challenges by significantly accelerating housing delivery over the next few years.
Building on our strong track record in successfully managing affordable housing and land programmes, we also want to offer a bespoke mix of direct capital grant and financial transactions to provide different solutions in line with local ambitions. We’re therefore open to discussions with stakeholders to find the best solution that works for them (see box: Who to contact).
To discuss the issues raised in this article, contact Maggie Rafalowicz: email@example.com
This article also appears in CT Brief, Issue 34