A landmark agreement has been struck between the city council and a key government agency which will pave the way for continued quality housing growth in the city.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Homes England have entered into an ‘informal partnership agreement’. The arrangement commits the council and Homes England to work together over the next five years on a comprehensive housing delivery plan that will continue to boost confidence in Stoke-on-Trent’s housing market and help housing sites to be completed with greater assurance. It also recognises the council’s ambition, vision and clear priorities set out in its housing strategy that launched in March and identifies the right mix of housing development to support residents’ housing needs for the future.
The agreement means that the city council and Homes England will commit to a range of measures including:
Developing a flexible portfolio of potential housing sites to be delivered over 7-10 years based on robust business cases that use co-developed feasibility studies and detailed appraisals
Working together to create confidence in the delivery of sites to aid the levels of investment in the developments from the private and public sector, as well as the council and Homes England
Using their expertise and networks in the housing brokerage market, including with registered providers of social housing, to access the best mix of strategic development partners
Creating a shared governance structure to deliver the work through the creation of a Levelling Up Stoke-on-Trent Housing Programme Board.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “This is a ground-breaking agreement, one of the first of its kind in the country. It will combine local expertise and national resource to help to guarantee the right mix of quality housing growth in the city for years to come – the future is exciting.
“It builds on our own track record and expertise in housing delivery in the city. It also continues the forward momentum and clear priorities in the housing strategy that we launched in March that sets out the wide mix of housing types that need to be developed to meet the needs of residents, with the continued redevelopment of brownfield land and renewal of existing estates.
“The agreement builds on Homes England’s proven track record of supporting housing delivery in the city. It will utilise their expert advice in helping to unlock complex sites, and could help to pave the way for work with other government agencies to help unlock historic sites and buildings for new uses. The agreement could also help to broker and leverage funding arrangements to develop sites and infrastructure.
“It is a hugely exciting time to be part of our city’s housing growth journey, and in the coming months we will be putting in place the structures and governance arrangements to deliver this work and appraise a potential portfolio of sites right across the city for development.”
In 2019, 1,008 new homes were completed in the city, 19 per cent more than any other year since 2000, and a further 917 homes were completed in 2020, before the start of the pandemic.
Since 2016, Homes England and its predecessor the Homes and Communities Agency, have invested £35,694,840 into the completion of 1,770 new homes across Stoke-on-Trent, including a mix of affordable rent, rent-to-buy and help-to-buy homes.
Chair of Homes England Peter Freeman said: “Our ambition is to create vibrant, active mixed use towns and places across the country, with decent homes, community spaces and opportunities for the people that live and work there. But we know that the way to do this will be different in different areas, and working closely with local authorities to understand and agree how we can best use our combined resources to achieve shared aims will be vital.
“Our partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council is a brilliant example of how this can work in action. The Council has a clear vision and detailed housing strategy, and we look forward to working with them to deliver this over the next five years.”