The South East LEP, the organisation responsible for championing the South East, has become the first in the country to declared Housing Business Ready by The Housing & Finance Institute (HFi).
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), covering East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock, is the first LEP to be nationally recognised by HFi.
The work of SELEP, partners and housebuilders has helped to deliver 10,600 completed new homes in 2015/16, compared to 7,690 in 2014/15 – an increase of 33%, compared to the national average of 13%. In addition, the number of new home starts delivered rose to 29% in 2015, compared to 19% in 2012/13.
SELEP’s support for the coordination and delivery of new homes to meet growing demand through the funding of infrastructure and sites has led to it receiving this national recognition. The HFi’s flagship Housing Business Ready programme works with councils, businesses and organisations across the UK to help them build more homes faster.
SELEP has worked with the HFi and six councils across the South-East region to deliver the Housing Business Ready programme, including Ashford, Eastbourne, Maidstone, Thurrock, Colchester and Braintree.
Work in Hastings, Thanet, Tendring and Southend is scheduled for the Autumn, targeting key coastal communities in the area, which represent a significant housing and economic challenge.
Christian Brodie, SELEP Chairman, said: “This national recognition highlights the forward thinking and hard work of our members. There is significant pressure across our area to deliver housing, with pressures from London and a growing population. “Partnering with the HFi enabled us to quickly support the economic growth and competitiveness of our region. The work will help create communities and help attract the skilled and experienced employees our businesses need.”
Natalie Elphicke, Chief Executive of HFi, said: “SELEP very much deserves to be the first LEP to be awarded Housing Business Ready status. Its commitment to the programme has demonstrated its appetite for working closely with businesses and councils to ensure growth and housing stability for this vitally important economic region.”
The creation of the HFi was announced by George Osborne in March 2015, and it has been working with councils and businesses to help them deliver new homes for their communities since.
SELEP provided strategic economic insight and knowledge of housing market area alongside the HFi’s extensive housing expertise. This first of its kind partnership has also capitalised on their work by using the programme findings in workshops and speaker events across the region to develop additional skills capacity to meet growth.
The establishment of the Housing & Finance Institute was announced by the Chancellor in the UK Government Budget in March 2015. It was launched by the Housing & Planning Minister in June 2015. The Housing & Finance Institute supports councils and businesses delivering homes for their communities.