Appointment of the Chair of Homes England Contents

Appendix 2: Information about the preferred candidate and the recruitment campaign

Information about the preferred candidate

Following a recruitment campaign, the Secretary of State has selected Peter Freeman as his preferred candidate for the role of the Homes England Chair.

Declaration of relevant interests made by the candidate:

“I have two significant property interests that should be disclosed and managed.

1. Argent: My brother and I founded Argent in 1981. In 1998, we both stepped down from full time roles as joint chief executives a year after the purchase of the then-listed company by the British Telecom Pension Scheme. After 1998, we became co-investors in all Argent development projects including King’s Cross. I am still a director of the key Argent companies and of the King’s Cross ownership vehicle and my family are investors in it. The only Argent project in which Homes England has an interest is Brent Cross South (BXS). Homes England has recently signed a £148m loan to Argent Related for this project. Although I receive Board reports at the Argent Board with responsibility for delivering BXS, neither I nor my brother have an investment in BXS.

2. Mayfield Market Towns Ltd. (MMT): I am chairman of MMT and became a shareholder when it was formed seven years ago. MMT’s business has been promoting a new town of 7,000–10,000 homes in West Sussex. We control approximately 1,000 acres at very low purchase prices that enable us to provide the entire social and physical infrastructure at a cost of £304m without the need for grant. Most of the land is in Horsham DC, some is in Mid Sussex DC. Mid Sussex is opposed but Horsham has included Mayfields in a Reg. 18 list and will be deciding how to slim the Reg. 18 list down to a smaller number of sites for the Council to promote at a Local Plan Inquiry next year. The MMT Board believes that we have a compelling offer. We are not looking for grant from Homes England as the development is viable without. However, in time our site will form part of the broad market competition for Homes England’s Northern Arc at Burgess Hill, five miles away. It is also competition in terms of allocation for Reg. 19 in Horsham where Homes England are part of a consortium promoting “West of Ifield”. If I became Chair of Homes England, I should not receive papers concerning West of Ifield and Burgess Hill while I remain involved in Mayfields.” Declaration of relevant political activity made by the candidate required under paragraph 9.2 of the Governance Code on Public Appointments: No relevant political activity.

Proposed terms of appointment and remuneration (if any):

Information on the recruitment campaign

Campaign Launch Date


Campaign Closing Date


Reason for any changes in timetable to that originally published


Advertising strategy

The Secretary of State agreed that an executive search agency should support the appointment.

Odgers Berndtson were appointed to ensure we developed and attracted a diverse and strong

candidate field.

The role was advertised on the Cabinet Office Public Appointments website, Odgers website and LinkedIn page, Women on Boards, and on the department’s social media platforms.

Advisory Assessment Panel

Jeremy Pocklington–Permanent Secretary,


Wendy Barnes–Senior Independent Panel


Michael Jary - Lead Non-Executive Director,

MHCLG–Panel Member;

Tracey Waltho–Director General, Housing

Planning & Building Safety, MHCLG–Panel

Member; and,

Emma Fraser - Director, Housing Markets

Strategy, MHCLG–Panel Member

Number of applicants


Number of candidates invited to interview

8 (1 withdrew prior to interview)

Number of candidates found appointable


Diversity Data

Statistical disclosure control–where there are fewer than 5 candidates in any category, diversity data has not been shared as the candidate may be potentially identifiable.

Table 1: Gender

Percent Male

Percent Female

Percent Identify another way

Percent Not declared






Shortlist (applicants invited to interview)





Table 2: Ethnicity

Percent White

Percent Ethnic minority

Percent Not declared





Shortlist (applicants invited to interview)




Table 3: Disability



Not declared





Shortlist (applicants invited to interview)




Published: 15 October 2020