Merger of Housing Corporation and English Partnerships to create super regeneration agency
Communities England, the super agency to be formed from the merger between the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships (EP), will make a priority of generating greater private investment for housing and regeneration.
Baroness Ford, the chair of EP, will head the transitional board that will oversee the merger. She said one of the board’s key taskes would be to investigate investment models.
Ford has ruled herself out of chairing the new agency. Jon Rouse will remain chief executive of the corporation, and John Walker will retain his caretaker role as chief accounting officer of EP, to which he was appointed after John Callcutt left to head the government’s sustainable housing review.
The agency, which will have a £4bn a year budget, will take over many functions of the communities department. These include the decent homes programme for bringing council stock up to scratch and the PFI.
The agency will also take over responsibility for the housing market renewal pathfinders and the four south-east growth areas, including the Thames Gateway. It will also oversee the government’s local housing growth delivery agencies, including the Urban Development Corporations – a move that is likely to put it at loggerheads with councils.
The communities department will retain control over social regeneration projects run by the neighbourhood renewal unit, including the new deal for regenerating the country’s worst pockets of poverty after a rearguard action by civil servants at the recently established department.
The agency will be charged with a remit to help increase housing supply and ensure that new homes are sustainable.
The organisation is expected to take about two years to set up.