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Homes England seeks large sites and prefabricated parts

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Homes England will seek to support councils and housing associations to buy and assemble the largest sites possible to build new housing.

The government housing quango’s chair Sir Edward Lister, former leader of Wandsworth LBC, told the Creating Communities conference in London that the two great booms in new homes in the 1930s and 1950s had depended on having large sites available to give economies of scale.

He said: “Homes England is very much about having big sites.”

Sir Edward said Homes England was working across government to bring forward publicly owned land that could developed, in particular, surplus sites from the Ministry of Defence.

The organisation would not itself build homes but would use £2bn funding to support councils, housing associations ad housebuilders to do so.

Homes England would though require deals it supported to have elements of modern methods of construction (MMC) – the use of prefabricated building components assembled on sites, which it believes will see homes built more rapidly and cheaply than by traditional methods.

Sir Edward said: “There are small MMC companies in the UK and many more overseas. This is about creating a pipeline of work for the UK companies, so they can have the confidence to invest in factories. At the moment they can’t do that because they cannot see a pipeline.”

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