Great Places Housing Group welcomes a landmark partnership with Homes England that will see the organisation build 750 additional affordable homes across the North over the next four years.
Homes England has today announced the key strategic partnerships with eight ambitious housing associations to deliver more affordable homes across the country.
The first wave of this new partnership approach will deliver 14,280 additional affordable homes by March 2022. The deals include homes for social rent in areas of high affordability pressure, with the funding available boosted by the Government’s announcement of an additional £1.67bn for the £9bn affordable homes programme. This new approach will also boost the wider supply contribution from the sector, with the eight partners signing up to deliver more than 23,500 additional homes across all tenures, including for market sale.
In total, Homes England will provide a funding package of just under £590m through to March 2022 to support the first wave of strategic partnerships with: emh group; Great Places; Home Group; Hyde; L&Q; Matrix Partnership; Places for People; and Sovereign / Liverty.
The partnership will see Great Places able to spend a near £30m grant to build the extra 750 homes.
This will see a total £400m spend at Great Places which will result in 2800 new homes being built up to March 2022 - including over 2300 new affordable homes.
Matthew Harrison, Chief Executive of Great Places, said: “It is fantastic news for the business and for the housing sector in general. Providing affordable housing for people in need is a serious challenge and one that we are committed to. We recently launched our corporate plan, where we set out our ambitions for next 10 years. One of those ambitions is to build 8,000 new homes over the next decade and this landmark partnership with Homes England will go some way to help us achieve that target.”
Secretary of State for Communities the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:
“There is no mission more urgent than making our housing market work, and we are investing £9bn in building affordable homes.
“This £590m fund we are giving Homes England will help housing associations accelerate the delivery of affordable properties communities need.”
Today’s announcement marks the first step towards a new way of working between Homes England and its partners, adopting a programme approach to delivery, with plans to explore how adopting this approach across Homes England’s land, funding and powers can further generate additional supply. Homes England will also re-open discussions with the sector this summer on a second tranche of strategic partnerships. The national housing agency will also be looking at the lessons learned from the first wave of deals to see what flexibilities can be offered to site-by-site based bids.
The deals come only six months after Homes England CEO Nick Walkley challenged the sector to form a new type of partnership with Government to increase the supply of affordable homes.
Nick Walkley said:
“When we launched Homes England, I called on housing associations to work with us to develop ambitious strategic partnerships that would help them to get on and build significantly more affordable homes than they were previously planning. After a huge amount of hard work, these new deals show our real determination to combine ambition, flexibilities and the full range of our resources to change the way we deliver affordable homes.
“This is a very important day for us but we have no intention to stop here. Over the summer, we will work to expand the eight deals to become even more ambitious while agreeing a second wave of strategic partnerships with other ambitious housing associations. This is a fantastic opportunity for the sector to up its game and get more affordable homes built more quickly.”
A project group comprising the National Housing Federation and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government was established to understand the barriers to delivery, form a new relationship with Homes England, and design a revised investment framework to increase delivery of new housing supply through new ways of working.
David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, said:
“We are delighted to have worked in close partnership with Homes England on this new approach to investing in affordable housing, which will support housing associations’ vital work to help solve the housing crisis.
“These strategic partnerships give ambitious housing associations the investment and flexibility they need to help increase the supply of new homes. We have been clear for many years that this will be a huge help in increasing delivery, and these partnerships are a testament to housing associations’ determination to build many more new homes.
“We now look forward to working with the Government to make these new flexibilities over grant and tenure more widely available.”
The eight housing associations have all committed to significant increases in their development programmes, in exchange for an additional year’s funding beyond the current spending review settlement and the ability to use their funding flexibly across their development programme in response to the ebb and flow of progress on individual sites. They will also be able to respond to local markets by determining the tenure of affordable homes as they near completion on individual sites, by managing the overall tenure balance through the oversight of a Strategic Partnership Board with Homes England.