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HCA to set up “mixed-use” framework

The Homes and Communities Agency is hoping to attract private housebuilders and developers onto a “framework” to build mixed-use developments for the new housing bod

HCA chief executive Sir Bob Kerslake unveiled the plan this week as an initiative to revive the flagging mixed-use sector.

Sir Bob said a framework model was being established for “firms that have undertaken mixed use regeneration schemes in the private sector” to become involved in potential mixed use opportunities from the HCA.

He also said that private housebuilders would play an “absolutely critical” role in helping the Homes and Communities Agency build more than 50,000 new affordable homes over the next year.

The National House Building Council is forecasting a total of 80,000 new homes will be built this year in the UK meaning the HCA will effectively be responsible for two-thirds of them.

Mr Kerslake said: “I meet regularly with the medium and large housebuilders and I see their role as being absolutely critical in terms of achieving our housing targets for the year ahead.”

He added: “We are acutely aware of how the downturn has impacted on professional capacity.”

The HCA’s latest set of accounts reveal it invested £3.9 billion on its national housing and regeneration programme in 2008/09.

The HCA, which came into effect on 1 December taking on the role of English Partnerships and the Housing Corporation, built 27,501 rental properties, up from 27,047 the previous year.

Meanwhile low cost home ownership properties totalled 19,743, up from 18,865 a year earlier.

Major HCA investments over the past year have included £93 million to kick start stalled regeneration schemes in London at Woodberry Down in Hackney and the Aylesbury estate, Southwark.

The HCA has also provided £37.5 million of funding to unlock four major sites across Dorset to provide 900 new homes.

A further £27.8 million was ploughed into the former Lambton Cokeworks site near Sunderland to provide 350 new homes and community facilities in a 52 ha country park.

Sir Bob added that the HCA would be looking to snap up land going forward, but would not be buying huge swathes from private sector housebuilders.

He said: “We are not going for a general land buying approach. We think our resources are better used for maintaining activity.

“There is not a huge appetite for land sales. The major players are not signalling to us a desire to sell huge tracks of their land.”

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