Homes England launch Local Government Capacity Centre

Homes England, the Government’s Housing Agency, has launched its Local Government Capacity Centre with a programme of summer learning for local authorities.

This will run from 14th to 25th June and includes sessions on brownfield sites, development appraisals and viability, and an update on latest planning policy relating to design. Officers working in local government can view the programme and book free places via the Homes England website.

The establishment of the Local Government Capacity Centre follows extensive research engagement by Homes England with stakeholders, including a session for Northern local authorities delivered in conjunction with the NHC.

Commenting on the launch of the Centre, Housing Minister, Rt Hon Chris Pincher MP, said:

“Local government is crucial in creating the homes and places people need and Homes England has a central role to play in supporting their capacity and skills development. I look forward to seeing how the new centre supports local government in delivering the homes this country needs.”

Research by the NHC published last year quantified the reduction in housing and planning capacity in the North’s local authorities over the last decade. Our study found:

  • The average net spend on housing in northern councils has fallen by 54% since 2010/11, compared to a reduction of 34% in the rest of England
  • The average net spend on planning in northern councils has fallen by 65% since 2010/11, compared to a reduction of 50% in the rest of England.

Commenting, NHC Chief Executive Tracy Harrison said:

“I welcome the launch of Homes England’s Local Government Capacity Centre, which I hope will make a valuable contribution to capacity in coming years. The NHC’s research shows the stark reductions in spending on housing and planning in the North. We have always perceived a role for a national centre of specialist expertise, and it is important that this is coupled with re-establishing capacity within the North’s local authorities themselves. This is an issue we will continue to push in the approach to the Spending Review this Autumn.”