Denton’s in-tray: the big issues facing Homes England

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As Peter Denton is confirmed as the new chief executive of Homes England, we republish this piece from January looking at the triple threats of market uncertainty, fire safety and net zero facing the agency

A version of this article was originally published on 29 January following the departure of Nick Walkley from Homes England. The piece has been updated slightly to reflect the appointment of Peter Denton, which was announced last week, and to mention the recent announcement of a review of the agency’s future direction. 

The resignation of Homes England chief executive Nick Walkley came as a surprise to both his staff and the industry.  Widely seen as having transformed an under-performing Homes and Communities Agency with the creation of Homes England in February 2018, Walkley left the agency in February with his reputation at a high watermark.

Overseeing the administration of Help to Buy and the £12.5bn affordable housing programme, alongside a raft of other initiatives and deals, Homes England enables the construction of more than 40,000 homes a year. While the agency’s chief investment officer, Gordon More, has taken temporary charge, Walkley’s departure left the body without a permanent leader at a crucial moment as the country emerges from the pandemic, with the housing market facing huge challenges. His successor, former banker and housing associaion chief executive Peter Denton, will have big shoes to fill.

So, with no explanation for his sudden departure given, beyond “personal reasons”, the resignation has inevitably prompted a flurry of rumour and speculation as to what could possibly be behind it. But probably the more important question for the sector is working out the situation facing new chief executive Peter Denton and what direction the agency will move in now.

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