Headlines: September 30th, 2003

Plans have been announced to speed up the development of more than 1,600 new affordable homes on surplus public land in the south east and east of England. The three-year delivery programme, involving the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships, will include housing for at least 850 key workers.The Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, said the announcement meant the first benefits of the link between the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships, announced at the Urban Summit in Birmingham in October last year, were now being realised.

Two Registered Social Landlords, Genesis Housing Group and Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association, have been chosen to develop a mixture of sale and rental properties on sites in Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Basildon, Crawley, Hemel Hempstead, Northampton, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City. English Partnerships is providing 56 sites in former new towns free of charge, while the Housing Corporation will provide funding through the Social Housing Grant.

The formation of the Housing Partnership, the unit bringing together the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships, was originally announced at the Urban Summit. It aims to get the two bodies to work more closely together to help with land assembly and to deliver more homes in the areas where they are most needed. It is overseen by a steering group chaired by Margaret Ford, Chairman of English Partnerships.