New housing agency to boost housebuilding in England

A new national housing agency has been launched in England to replace the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and help boost Westminster’s efforts to deliver the homes the country needs.

Housing secretary Sajid Javid said the rebranded Homes England will drive forward change and help deliver an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, as set out in the UK government’s housing white paper.

The rebranded agency will “play a major role in securing land in areas where people want to live”, as well as supporting “smaller and more innovative house builders” and helping to “resource brownfield sites” to “deliver homes for families”, the government added.

Launching the agency on a visit to Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, a former airfield which will bring 5,000 new homes, Mr 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.”

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.

Terrie Alafat, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “The agency promises to bring together a greater range of strategic powers and resources, which combined with its expertise will allow it to take new and innovative approaches which could make a real difference to get us building more homes at a crucial time.”

The regulation arm of the HCA has relaunched as the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH).