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Places for People responds to Homes England Strategic Plan 23-28

Building thriving Communities and creating social value is what we in Places for People strive to do. It’s how we are delivering on our purpose as the UK’s leading Social Enterprise.

As a Strategic Partner of Homes England, delivering over 7,000 homes through the 2016-21 and 2021-26 Affordable Homes Programmes, we have already seen the positive impact of a strategic approach to facilitate our ambitions to grow our overall development and affordable Communities. Our expertise in regeneration and placemaking, supported by Homes England, has enabled us to deliver homes in a range of large and small projects, building the right homes in the right places, and creating Communities that support education, health, wellbeing, employment, and inclusion.

The emphasis in Homes England’s Strategic Plan for 2023-28 - launched yesterday - on a joined-up approach to creating, regenerating, and sustaining Communities provides a major opportunity for Strategic Partners to work even more closely alongside Homes England, local authorities, and private sector partners to deliver new and transformed Communities. We have first-hand experience of regenerating Communities on brownfield land and know that these schemes are challenging and complex - working in partnership and with public sector support is crucial. We believe that there remains real untapped potential to deliver more homes on land which is currently owned and controlled by the public sector, including local authorities, and stand ready to work with public bodies to deliver more homes of all tenures on these sites and to change the Communities in which they sit for the better.

We know that as a country we are not building enough homes and last year, despite the highest rate of building for a decade, only 250,000 homes were built against a target of 300,000. This has terrible consequences for Communities.

Recent research by the National Housing Federation found that two million children are forced to live in cramped conditions, with more than 310,000 children in England forced to share beds with other family members. This has to change, and we are excited to see Homes England’s renewed vision setting out a welcome gear shift and with aims and objectives aligned to our own to deliver this.

To help address England’s chronic shortage of homes and build sustainable Communities, we create multi-tenured communities with a big focus on much-needed affordable homes. We prioritise the social and physical infrastructure that enables Communities to thrive, and to enable existing Communities to confidently welcome much needed affordable homes for local people. We already amplify this impact through bringing in 3rd party capital through PfP Capital and are keen to expand on these opportunities.

As part of our vision, we want to make sure the homes we build are truly fit for a net zero future. This may mean the sector as a whole needs to be even more ambitious than targets imply, but the objectives set out by Homes England provide a good starting point for wider conversations.

The new focus from Homes England on wider benefits of schemes such as the environment, culture, health and social care is a significant step in the right direction to help social housing providers to deliver more for our Communities. We are striving to be more responsive to our Customers and local need and to deepen relationships with key stakeholders. Our role has evolved to meet the challenges of modern life, and our relationships with public sector bodies must grow closer and keep pace with that. We recognise the need to be bold and are developing social value metrics which are fit for purpose for our aims and which will help others. Now, more than ever, we need collaboration to help us deliver homes and Communities that are of high quality, are safe and are sustainable, not only for our Customers today but also for our Customers tomorrow.