Jennifer Longstaff’s appointment comes in the wake of the Church of England’s announcement it is planning to set up a housing association

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Jennifer Longstaff to assit the Church Commissioners in boosting their affordable housing delivery

The Church Commissioners have appointed former Savills associate director Jennifer Longstaff to help accelerate its delivery of affordable housing. 

Longstaff, formerly an associate director in Savills’ Newcastle office will take up the role of strategic land and affordable housing asset manager for the Commissioners, providing advice, particularly on homes in rural communities. 

The appointment comes after Church of England’s first bishop for housing Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani announced last month the CofE wanted to set up a housing association that will “disrupt and challenge” the housing market. 

Longstaff is expected to expand the 9,000 affordable homes that the Church Commissioners have planned over the next 15 years on its nationwide land portfolio. The Church Commissioners is the body that manages Church of England investments, totalling more than £10bn, and has been working with the Church on its affordable housing plan.    

Longstaff has more than 15 years experience working for Savills, project developing and securing planning permissions to support new developments, including rural housing, and is a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. Longstaff also managed several smaller development sites at Savills as well as successful larger housing and mixed-use projects across the North of England. 

She has already worked closely with the Church Commissioners’ teams as a development consultant on their rural housing projects across England. 

Joanna Loxton, head of strategic land investment at the Church Commissioners, said: “We are delighted by Jennifer’s appointment and are looking forward to working with her regarding our commitment to accelerate the delivery of affordable housing across our land portfolio.

“Jennifer’s extensive experience and proven track record, successfully managing both strategic land and rural housing projects, will offer valuable support in driving forward our mission to boost the delivery of affordable housing across the country.”

As well as the 9,000 homes, the Church Commissioners want to speed up small-scale rural affordable housing sites across England, in partnership with housing associations and local housebuilders.

The body recently collaborated with English Rural Housing Association (ERHA) to provide homes of mixed affordable tenures in Shepherdswell, Dover, and local needs homes in Mersham, Kent, to be kept in perpetuity as an affordable housing option for the local community. Longstaff is expected to continue this sort of work.