New regeneration body will be 'greener than sum of parts'

England will boost its capacity to create sustainable communities when it puts housing and regeneration under the powers of a single agency, the national body currently responsible for regeneration has said.

The new agency will have more powers to turn wasteland into sustainable housing, it is hoped

The new agency will have more powers to turn wasteland into sustainable housing, it is hoped

Recently announced plans to fuse the Housing Corporation with the regeneration body English Partnerships (EP) were met with some criticism over a lack of environmental focus for the new agency, Communities England (see related story).

But the size and influence of the new agency should substantially boost the delivery of sustainable housing, thanks to its stronger persuasive powers than the separate housing and regeneration bodies, a spokesman for EP told edie.

"The size and remit of Communities England will be greater than that of the individual organisations as they currently stand.

EP is "already promoting lower emissions and lower resource use," and the creation of Communities England should make it easier to achieve these goals, he said.

Current initiatives aimed at greening house-building include the Design for Manufacture Competition, which has helped show that eco-homes are commercially viable on a larger scale, and the Millennium Communities project.

By "bringing together land (EP) and money for affordable homes" the new agency will be in the position to better coordinate England's house-building and the regeneration of derelict land in the long term, and integrate sustainability into the plans.

Communities England, which has been promised a budget of £4bn, would come into being around April 2009 although no precise date has yet been fixed. "There is no definitive timescale - it depends on Government, primary legislation and a raft of internal considerations such as the need to appoint a new CEO, chair, etc," said the EP spokesman.

Goska Romanowicz

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