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UK HCA launches £1.7bn affordable homes programme

27 Jan 2014 (Last Updated January 27th, 2014 18:30)

The UK's Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has launched a grant funding scheme to encourage the development of new housing in London.

The UK’s Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has launched a grant funding scheme to encourage the development of new housing in London.

Under the programme, the agency is calling developers and housing associations to bid for up to £1.7bn of grant funding that would help in creating 165,000 affordable homes.

The 2015-18 Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) is largely based on the existing 2011-15 AHP model.

HCA said it has taken the opportunity to introduce some new features into the bidding process and the programme itself.

The plans state there will be two routes to bidding, which include either firm schemes only or the mixed route comprised of firm schemes and indicative proposals.

The agency said any bidder will be able to bid for firm schemes only and its existing investment partners with a proven track record of good delivery will be able to access the mixed route, which has been agreed with the HCA.

"The agency is looking at ways of maximising the number of new affordable homes for the funding invested."

A portion of the £1.7bn funding will be retained for future bids through ongoing market engagement in order to enable organisations to take the longer time frames they need to submit bids which schemes are not finished by 30 April 2014, which is when the formal bid round closes.

HCA chief executive Andy Rose said the agency is looking at ways of maximising the number of new affordable homes for the funding invested, and secure early delivery.

"We have taken the opportunity to introduce new features which reflect some of the views expressed from partners during the current programme and during the programme development," Rose said.

HCA said bidders will also be asked to demonstrate how they can use good procurement practices like driving supply chain efficiencies and new construction techniques, to maximise the delivery of new supply by reducing the initial and entire life costs of building affordable homes.