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Homes England joins Future Cities Forum at Here East

Above: Harry Swales, Chief Investments Officer, Homes England

Future Cities Forum is to welcome Harry Swales, Chief Investments Officer, to speak at its investment and innovation event at Here East in September.

Harry has been with Homes England since 2015. He has previously been Executive Director in the Markets, Partners and Places directorate. Harry has over 15 years’ experience in the real estate industry as a developer, investor and funder. He is a chartered surveyor with a background in delivering projects in both the public and private sectors.

The Chief Investments Officer is responsible for leading the development and execution of long term strategy of the Investment Directorate with a view to delivering government strategy in respect of housing supply using (i) a portfolio of financial instruments (including equity/debt and guarantees) and (ii) through developing relationships and structuring opportunities for increased private sector investment in increasing supply of new homes

Last month the Government’s housing and regeneration agency unveiled its next five-year Strategic Plan, setting out how it will support communities and families by enabling the delivery of more good quality, affordable homes alongside the regeneration of towns and cities across England. It states:

'With sustainability, decency and good design at its heart, and underpinned by over £16 billion of HM Government funding, the updated plan is both a call-to-arms and an offer to the entire housing and regeneration sector. It sets out how, working with its partners, the Agency can deliver a revitalised built environment across England that serves the needs of all communities.

'Alongside the Agency’s ongoing desire to work with all organisations in the housing and regeneration sector, the strategic plan also commits Homes England to working in a more place-based way – tailoring its powers, funding, expertise and technical capacity to the specific challenges faced in different parts of the England. This will build on Homes England’s strategic place partnership with Greater Manchester, and a stream of similar partnerships the Agency will be establishing over the following months, including in the West Midlands.'

The Agency’s revitalised mission is underpinned by five objectives:

  • Support the creation of vibrant and successful places that people can be proud of, working with local leaders and other partners to deliver housing-led mixed-use regeneration with a brownfield-first approach.

  • Facilitate the creation of the homes people need, intervening where necessary to ensure places have enough homes of the right type and tenure.

  • Build a housing and regeneration sector that works for everyone, driving diversification, partnership working, and innovation.

  • Promote the creation of high-quality homes in well-designed places that reflect community priorities by taking an inclusive and long-term approach.

  • Enable sustainable homes and places, maximising their positive contribution to the natural environment and minimising their environmental impact.

The Agency says it will also continue to work closely with government to play an active role in building safety, whilst providing help and support to local leaders to overcome capacity and capability barriers that are delaying delivery on the ground:

'In delivering this plan, Homes England will build on its track record of delivery since 2018. Working with over 5,000 organisations the Agency has:

  • Supported the creation of 152,700 new homes (115,211 of these were affordable homes)

  • Unlocked land with capacity for over 380,000 homes to be built

  • Helped over 228,996 households to buy a home of their own.

More broadly, Homes England has created a stronger housing market through the creation of new institutional lending partnerships, such as the Greener Homes Alliance with Octopus Real Estate, and has supported innovative joint ventures such as the English Cities Fund. The Agency is delivering the largest new town in England at Northstowe and is backing innovation by supporting the sector to accelerate the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). The Agency has played a central role in supporting the sector through tough economic times, including the COVID-19 pandemic and more recent economic uncertainty.'


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