Programme funding could be reallocated as some organisations fail to secure sites
HCA to pass affordable homes grant baton
The Greater London Authority has arranged a series of meetings with landlords across the capital amid concern they will fail to meet the 2015 deadline for delivering the affordable homes programme.
The GLA will meet providers on a one-to-one basis over the coming weeks to assess whether they are on track to build the number of homes they initially promised.
Senior figures at the GLA, which administers the affordable homes programme in London, have privately expressed concern at the speed of progress.
Both the Homes and Communities Agency, which administers the £1.8 billion programme nationally, and the GLA have already asked some housing associations and councils whether they have capacity to build more homes if other organisations cannot fulfil their obligations.
It is understood that one of the options under consideration is to open up a fresh round of bidding in September.
‘I think there is a change in the tone [of conversation] now because we’re at that point in the programme,’ said Julia Moulder, development director at Catalyst Housing, which has pledged to deliver more than 1,100 homes and is in talks with the GLA. ‘If we haven’t got sites [identified] by September 2013 then we won’t complete by 2015.’
David Wakeford, an assistant director at property consultancy Drivers Jonas Deloitte, said landlords are worried they will not have time to find viable new sites before the end of the programme.
‘There are serious concerns that if sites fall through now, finding alternatives is going to be very difficult.’
The GLA and HCA have been meeting providers every quarter since the start of the programme in April 2011.
A spokesperson for the GLA said that there was ‘no specific event planned’ beyond the quarterly meetings.
The GLA is responsible for 22,000 of the 80,000 new affordable homes that the HCA has committed to deliver across England by 2015.
Last week, the HCA told providers it would pay 50 per cent of grant for each property built on start, instead of the full amount on completion, as first planned.
The agency said this was to prevent the programme being ‘backloaded’ in the last two years.
A spokesperson for the HCA said a review of progress was ongoing. ‘As we move towards the halfway point of the programme in March next year, we will take stock and decide whether we need to formally review the programme, or any specific contracts.’
He added: ‘There is no set timescale for re-assessing funding. We are in discussion with providers but we want to give everyone time to get their programmes on track.’