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HCA hails focus on housing in Budget

Fri 21 Mar 2014

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has said the strong focus on housing in the Budget is welcome - and has pledged to successfully deliver on George Osborne's promises.

HCA chief executive Andy Rose said the organisation's "proven track record of delivery" will stand it in good stead as it works towards fulfilling the government's aim of increasing house building by 200,000. He added that the Budget emphasises "the government's commitment to the housing sector".

One of the means in which the HCA is pledging to help the government deliver on its promises is by pushing through plans to be announced in the Autumn Statement to release more public land for building. Mr Rose noted: "Disposal of land is core business for the HCA." Current plans already involve bringing forward space for 16,000 more homes.

A couple of new ways in which the HCA could be involved in the plans will be the development of garden cities and self-building.

In the former case, the government has already announced the creation of one garden city in Ebbsfleet, Kent and is to publish a prospectus on the future of garden cities, which will be out by April. That will focus on "locally-led" initiatives to create similar schemes around the country.

Garden cities were first devised in the 1890s by social reformer Ebenezer Howard as an alternative to the cramped conditions of large cities and are by definition small in size with a lot of green space, both public and private. This means there may be a plethora of new developments of a few thousand homes across the country.

Another significant scheme is the government's pledge to boost self-building, with a consultation set to take place on giving custom buyers a right to buy a plot from councils, with a select number of local authorities piloting the programme. This will be backed by a £150 million serviced plots loan fund to help the creation of 10,000 self-built homes.

For further information on any of the points raised in this article please contact Andrew Murray in our Social Housing Team.

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