The government has confirmed Peter Freeman as the new chair of its housing delivery agency Homes England.
Freeman’s three-year appointment to the role follows his appearance in front of the Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee a few weeks ago, after which they gave him their endorsement.
Freeman is co-founder of the property developer Argent and is well-known for his involvement in the multi-billion-pound regeneration project Kings Cross Central, as well as major developments in Birmingham and Manchester.
The government said that Freeman will lead Homes England’s continued transformation into a ‘commercially focused organisation that works with the public, private and voluntary sector to deliver much-needed homes and infrastructure across the country’.
Jenrick said: “As the visionary behind the revival of King’s Cross, Peter has a track record of world-class regeneration and it is this along with his drive to create places people want to live that makes him the best person to support our ambitious housing agenda.
“We will work closely on our shared goal to deliver more homes, of high-quality design and environmental standards, with green spaces and new parks close at hand and tree lined streets are the norm – all as part of creating communities that people want to be a part of.”
Under Freeman’s leadership, Homes England will be tasked with creating a development pipeline that can support the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda by ensuring that housing and job opportunities are distributed across England.
The housing delivery agency is set to play a role in supporting smaller builders as the government aims to improve SMEs’ access to land and funds as part of their proposed reforms to the planning system.
Homes England will also support the government’s drive to increase the use of modern methods of construction (MMC) by overseeing MMC criteria in distributing funding to housing associations.
The government has set a minimum target for the use of MMC as part of its new £12 billion Affordable Homes Programme. Jenrick has confirmed that the target will be reviewed annually and increased if market conditions allow.
Freeman commented on his appointment: “Homes England has a vital role to play in improving the lives of all those affected by the housing crisis by providing land, investment and expertise to accelerate housebuilding.
“I will be working closely with government and the housing sector to deliver on their promise to provide homes that support successful communities and allow all to experience a better quality of life.
“Based on my own experience, I strongly believe that we can deliver the necessary quantity, quality and variety of housing that is needed, while creating home where people can enjoy a real sense of belonging to vibrant communities.”
Freeman replaces Homes England’s interim chair, Simon Dudley, who will remain on the agency’s board as a senior independent director.
Dudley had overseen Homes England for the past 15 months after Sir Edward Lister resigned from the role to become the prime minister Boris Johnson’s chief strategic advisor.