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HCA expects to exceed housing targets

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HCA expects to exceed housing targets

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Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government

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The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) says it is on course to exceed its housing targets for 2011/2012.

An early assessment of year-end figures shows that the agency has exceeded its key output targets for 2011-12.

The HCA’s total programme investment for the year was also within budget at £2.3bn.  This included £1.2bn on the National Affordable Housing Programme (AHP).

Under the Agency’s Property and Regeneration Programme, 182 hectares of previously developed land were reclaimed against a target of 160 hectares.

Similarly, jobs and economic growth were given a boost through the creation of 149,000 sq m of employment floorspace, against a target of 87,000 sq m.

Though figures for housing starts and completions cannot be reported until May or June due to their status as official statistics, the agency already anticipates reporting a "strong performance".

The news comes after figures released by the HCA last year showed a "disastrous" 97% fall in affordable housing starts in the six months to September.

The agency also announced today that 640 ha of land – such as wildlife areas, country parks and other public green space – has been transferred to community and charity ownership, with endowments valued at £40m to help maintain the land.

Speaking today, chief executive Pat Ritchie said: “Despite the backdrop of continued economic uncertainty and a period of great change for the Agency, I am pleased to report that we have nevertheless met or exceeded our delivery targets, as these figures show.

“We have utilised our enabling role to help communities achieve their housing ambitions, and significantly invested in the places that need it most. This has been achieved at the same time as launching our major new delivery programme, the £1.8bn Affordable Homes Programme (AHP), completing an organisational restructure and taking on new responsibilities – including the land and property assets from the RDAs under our new Economic Assets Programme, and responsibility for the regulation of social housing providers – and the transfer of our role in London to the GLA.

 “Alongside the AHP we will be implementing the new Regulatory Framework, prioritising the accelerated delivery of land, and getting stalled sites moving again through Get Britain Building; all of which will be set against the Government policy landscape, particularly around Core Cites, growth and localism.

“All of this means that our offer across the investment, enabling, land and regulation agendas is stronger than ever.”

Euan Hall, chief executive of the Land Trust, to which the HCA has transferred a number of its landholdings, said: “Thanks to HCA’s funding we can ensure these spaces are managed with the community for their benefit which will have a direct effect on the lives of thousands of local people across the country, creating positive outcomes for health, social, cohesion, education, environment and the local economy.

“Furthermore, the transfer of land and legacy fund is a really cost effective solution to the issue of non-operational land because it removes the liability of annual maintenance and lifts a considerable long term management burden.”

The results will now be audited and formally reported in June.

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