The role of the HCA and other community builders
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the government's agency established in 2008 to take over the functions of English Partnerships, the investment side of the Housing Corporation, some delivery functions of Communities and Local Government department and the Academy for Sustainable Communities. Additional functions for the HCA are proposed in the Localism Bill (2010).
Plans for new communities must avoid becoming aligned too closely with a particular political agenda which may not last over the lifetime of the development. Communities will need strong commitment from the agencies involved in creating them.
Targets can help galvanise project partners to innovate and build to the highest specifications. When targets are not entirely met this should not automatically lead to blame or disappointment if what was achieved was still remarkable.
See: Hammarby Sjöstad
Section 106 should be used imaginatively and should be carefully tailored to the needs of the area.
See: East Thames
Being open and flexible about what role each agency involved in the creation of new places can take, especially in the case of funders, will ensure that financial plans for projects proceed without misunderstandings over which agency takes responsibility for each element of the scheme.
- to improve the supply and quality of housing in England
- to secure the regeneration or development of land or infrastructure in England
- to support in other ways the creation, regeneration or development of communities in England or their continued well-being, and
- to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development and good design in England with a view to meeting the needs of people living in England.
These have been translated into an overall aim of delivering an outcome of helping to create and maintain sustainable successful communities and contribute to economic growth. The HCA will focus on the integration of sustainable economic, social and environmental aspects of communities while ensuring the financial and organisational sustainability of all programmes and projects.
The HCA will take a holistic approach to communities, supporting local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships. This overview, includes the inter-relationships between existing communities and new communities particularly where they will be in close proximity.
Many of the HCA's interventions will reflect the complex needs of different places, for instance the new communities in the East region where there are shortages of homes, affordability issues for many people, and potential water supply and flood matters to be taken into account.
- investing in new housing and the development and regeneration of communities
- providing expertise and technical support; and
- utilising our own and other public sector land assets.
The HCA's approach will be to use Local Investment Plans, developed with local authorities and sub-regional structures as part of the processes to agree the scope and methods of the HCA's and others' investment to achieve the local vision for successful new and regenerated communities.
The HCA will operate at national, regional, sub-regional, and local levels; agreeing and achieving balances to ensure that the overall aims of contributing to the creation and long-term maintenance of new successful communities is achieved, while at the same time being flexible to meet the needs and aims of local communities.