Peter Freeman has been appointed as the new chair of Homes England, the government’s housing delivery agency.
The three-year appointment follows a hearing by the housing, communities and local government select committee on Monday 12 October 2020, after which they endorsed his suitability for the role, subject to Freeman taking measures to avoid any suggestion of a conflict of interest.
Freeman, a co-founder and non-executive director of the property developer Argent, is one of the leading figures behind the revival of King’s Cross, as well as major developments in Birmingham and Manchester. As chair, Freeman will lead the continued transformation of Homes England into a commercially-focused organisation that works with the public, private and voluntary sector to deliver homes and infrastructure across the country.
Housing secretary Robert 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 as the norm – all as part of creating communities that people want to be a part of.”
Peter Freeman said: “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 homes where people can enjoy a real sense of belonging to vibrant communities.”
Nick Walkley, chief executive of Homes England, said: “I am delighted to welcome Peter Freeman as the new chair of Homes England at such an important time for the housing sector. I know that everyone here will be energised by the knowledge and experience that he brings. I would also like to thank our interim chair, Simon Dudley, who has steered the agency for a year so ably during very challenging times, and I am grateful that he is continuing as the senior independent director on our board.
“Under Peter’s leadership, Homes England will play an important role in creating a development pipeline that can support our economic recovery and ensure housing and employment opportunities are spread across England. Homes England will also continue to support smaller builders to maintain the diversity and the resilience of the housebuilding sector in a challenging economic environment, with plans underway to improve access to land and funding for smaller firms.
“Homes England will also support the secretary of state’s recent commitment to increase the use of modern methods of construction (MMC) by including MMC criteria in the distribution of funding to housing associations. This will form part of the delivery by Homes England of the new Affordable Homes Programme outside London, which is designed to increase homes for affordable ownership and rent.”