A week might be a long time in politics but for the sake of this blog, I would like you to cast your mind back a mere seven days, before the Chequers deal, before the mass resignations, and before the promotion of the then housing minister.
Nick Walkley and the team at Homes England have not just put one flag in the ground, but they are busy racing around the country distributing flags on every vacant plot they can find.
Last week they announced a number of strategic partnerships with housing associations to deliver 14,280 new affordable (a mix of rent and shared ownership) homes by 2020. This is on top of the existing commitments that their housing association partners have made. Homes England have also been putting their new powers to good use and have just purchased a 3,500 home site at Burgess Hill. In buying the site Homes England will also be able to ensure that all necessary infrastructure is included to make it successful. Could this be the start of a much longed for national strategic approach to development and infrastructure? Only time will tell, as we expect to see more strategic partner announcements over the summer.
Community Led Housing
Community led housing is the fastest growing new form of housing in the country, albeit one that starts from a relatively low level. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has announced £163 million for community led housing for a new Community Housing Fund.
This follows on from the Mayor promoting community led housing in his housing strategy. With a move to more community engagement in place making and regeneration, expect to see more from the CLT movement over the next few years.
James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State at MHCLG, made a number of announcements last week including:
Consultation on three year tenancies for the private rented sector. Longer length tenancies are used fairly consistently by Build to Rent providers and housing associations, however, the wider introduction has been problematic, suggestions of ‘rent control’ finished off this policy when Ed Milliband was Labour leader.
Releasing £450 million to build homes on public land that favour modern methods of construction through the Local Authority Accelerated Construction programme. The fund will speed up delivery of homes on surplus local authority land and encourage the use of Modern Methods of Construction and SME builders.
Banning new build leasehold homes.
And if he wasn’t busy enough, James Brokenshire is now the Ministerial champion for the Midlands Engine.
Harold Wilson may have counted political time in weeks, but with housing ministers we prefer to count their tenure in days.
Dominic Raab the most recent incumbent lasted 181 days before his promotion to Secretary of State for Exiting the EU. Raab’s short stay came as little surprise to the housing sector as there was a general feeling that he was more preoccupied with the Brexit than building.
Kit Malthouse who now becomes the fourth housing minister in two year now faces the challenge of building 300,000 homes, delivering the long awaited social housing green paper and seeing if he can remain in post until Christmas
Last night we had a wide-ranging discussion with Conservative politicians from across the capital on steps to address the housing crisis. Everyone agreed that there’s a joint role for politicians and the housing and property sectors to better articulate the benefits of building more homes. We’ll be making this case to the new housing minister as he settles into post.
Become a member
Our members include over 200 of the capital’s leading employers across a wide range of sectors, with a common commitment to our capital.