As 2017 draws to a close, I am sure we can all agree this has been a very turbulent year for the housing sector; a year with many positives including more recognition of the importance of housing, but with the awful tragedy of Grenfell never far from our thoughts.
We saw the Government focus on housing in last month’s Budget, including high profile measures designed to help fix the broken housing market and to stimulate the building of more homes across England.
The NHC shares the Government’s ambition to create a housing market that works for everyone. To help achieve this, during the year we have made progress on the recommendations made by last year’s Report of the Commission for Housing in the North. We want to make a real and lasting difference and our evidence underlines the importance of improving the quality of existing homes and places, alongside the need for new supply in place-based strategies.
The Commission report continues to guide our work and crucially, regeneration is back on the agenda. We will now be working on how we gain traction for regeneration within a framework that suits the needs and resources for the North in the current environment.
We want to raise the profile and importance of regeneration activity in a positive way – too often the term is used as a shorthand for unsuccessful market intervention. We have found this picture does not reflect the reality of what is happening on the ground in the North. We need to reclaim the term ‘regeneration’ to reflect the positive impact it can have on people and places across our regions.
We know that when done well, in the right places and with the engagement of the local community, housing-led regeneration delivers substantial benefits. It increases the scope for new development on brownfield land and widens housing choices and economic opportunity. In the next year, we will be talking to politicians, decision makers at local and regional level and other key influencers to take forward this message.
I am looking forward to building on this work in 2018 and working to ensure we can be in the best place to support you, our members, in achieving your aspirations. The Consortium exists solely for its members and, whatever the year ahead holds in store, we will be working hard to support you in every way.
In the coming year we hope to provide more opportunities to support you with innovative products and services, to remain a valuable asset to the housing sector and for a strong Northern voice to be heard by politicians and other key stakeholders.
On behalf of everyone at the NHC I wish you a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2018.