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HCA backs PlaceShapers to benefit local communities

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has backed PlaceShapers to play a key role in tackling the UK's ongoing housing crisis.

PlaceShapers helped in the delivery of 21,000 new affordable homes across the UK between 2006 and 2010 and it has now secured an additional £2.7 billion of funding to create a further 20,000 properties over the coming years.

It is a national group of more than 75 local housing authorities and lobbies for the importance of delivering key housing projects through local means.

Keynote speaker at PlaceShapers' recent annual conference Lord Richard Best noted the construction industry can be a key driver of growth in the UK economy, with new housing starts one area where further effort is needed at present.

The size and nature of PlaceShapers as a voice for greater local development is one of the key strengths of the organisation, as it is able to push for the development of projects that will ultimately be of real benefit to local communities, he added.

Pat Ritchie, chief executive of the HCA, commented: "Housing has a central role to play in driving economic growth and at the community level PlaceShapers' members are ideally positioned to demonstrate how their place-based focus helps local neighbourhoods to address a range of everyday social, environmental and economic issues." Earlier this month, the HCA was highlighted as having played a key role in the development of more than 75 per cent of the top 100 regeneration projects across the UK over the last 12 months.

According to Regeneration and Renewal magazine's Top 100 list for 2011-12, the HCA's schemes have included the £4.6 billion Greenwich Peninsula programme, with the organisation keen to see further developments taking off over the coming years.

Mr Ritchie added: "Our best response will be a flexible approach through a mix of grant, investment and the maximum use of public assets." 

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