Nick Walkley’s exit leaves Homes England with a big challenge

homes england

Agency needs to face up to triple threats of market uncertainty, fire safety and net zero if it wants to deliver homes

The resignation of Homes England chief executive Nick Walkley came as a surprise to both his staff and the industry this week. Widely seen as having transformed an under-performing Homes and Communities Agency with the creation of Homes England in February 2018, Walkley will leave the agency at the end of next month 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, will take temporary charge, Walkley’s departure leaves 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 eventual successor will be 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 that will face whoever is brought in to replace him, and what direction the agency will move in now.

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