HCA prospectus indicates drive for more one and two bedroom homes

Out-Law News | 28 Jan 2014 | 3:40 pm | 2 min. read

The next three year stage of the Government's Affordable Homes Programme will focus on funding the construction of homes that will address mismatches between existing housing stock and housing need. 

The Affordable Homes Programme for the period 2015-2018 (53-page / 623KB PDF) said that it aims to "help address any mismatch between existing stock and the needs of households, for example by building more one and two bedroom homes in areas where tenants under-occupying social homes do not have the option of moving to suitably-sized homes".

The Programme for 2015-18 was launched yesterday and sets out the bidding criteria for £1.7 billion in grant funding for affordable homes providers outside London over the three year programme period. A £2.9 billion capital grant fund has been made available nationally to fund affordable housing.

Minister for Housing Kris Hopkins wrote in the Programme's forward that: "I intend to make sure that we support areas to build more of the homes that are in greatest need and shortest supply. In many places, this will mean more one and two bedroom homes for smaller households who need to move to more suitably sized accommodation".

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the department responsible for the programme, will also "pay particular attention to value for money of any provider's bids where the provider's governance judgement has been downgraded because the provider is not considered to have met the Value for Money standard".

HCA chief executive Andy Rose said: "We are continually looking at ways of maximising the number of new affordable homes for the funding invested, and secure early delivery. We have taken the opportunity to introduce new features which reflect some of the views expressed from partners during the current programme and during the programme development."

Developers, housing associations and councils can either bid for firm schemes only, or the mixed route comprised of firm schemes and indicative proposals. Any bidder may bid for firm schemes only, however those with a "proven track record" of good delivery will be entitled to bid via the mixed route. It is hoped that this will maximise certainty of delivery.

The Programme also seeks to increase the supply of new housing for affordable rent and affordable home shared ownership, and the homes delivered with this funding will form part of the 165,000 new affordable homes the government seeks to deliver across the country between 2015-18.

The Programme will result in the building of up to 165,000 new homes over the three year period. Hopkins said that this is the fastest affordable house building for 20 years and will support 165,000 construction jobs.

Whilst house building it at its highest level since 2007 Hopkins said that it was vital that councils continue to provide more land for new homes and the surge of house building continues to grow.

"House building is an essential part of this Government's long term economic plan. That's why we have designed an ambitious new scheme to build affordable homes at the fastest rate for 20 years," he said. "Our programme will support 165,000 jobs in construction, sustain thousands of small businesses and provide homes where future generations can live and raise families of their own."