A new national housing agency for England has been launched as one of the Government’s key steps towards delivering the homes the country needs and driving forward change.
Homes England will replace the Homes and Communities Agency and will have new powers to buy land, particularly resourcing brown field sites for new homes. It will also build on the agency’s planning expertise, according to Housing Secretary Sajid Javid.
‘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,’ he 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 new agency will be key in replicating this approach right across the country and will help us build a Britain fit for the future,’ he added.
He revealed that 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 also 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.
‘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,’ said Nick Walkley, chief executive of Homes England.
Javid also pointed out that 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. ‘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,’ said Sir Ed Lister, chairman of Homes England.