Leaders of the housing and regeneration superagency being launched next week are considering turning it into a large-scale direct developer of homes during the housing downturn, it emerged this week. 

Speaking at the Thames Gateway Forum, Sir Bob Kerslake, the chief executive designate of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), said he was considering ways in which it could take a lead developer role. 

He said the agency, which will have a budget of £17.4bn over the next three years, would look to set up joint ventures that would lever in private finance, but that it wouldn’t shy away from taking the development on directly, if necessary.

He said: “The key challenge is delivery, and this is something we’re absolutely exploring.” 

A specific issue being addressed is the possibility of setting up a public–private vehicle based on the English Cities Fund – a £2bn joint venture between English Partnerships, Muse and Legal & General – to take forward housing sites. He added: “We’ve got to explore all options.”