Church Commissioners appoint planning specialist to aid affordable housing delivery


  • The Church Commissioners for England has appointed former Savills associate director Jennifer Longstaff to assist with affordable housing delivery.
  • The appointment reaffirms the Church Commissioners’ commitment to supporting communities through the delivery of sustainable, high-quality affordable homes.
  • The role will see Jennifer advise across the Church Commissioners’ property development portfolio, expanding the circa 9,000 affordable home pipeline by identifying suitable new sites for rural affordable housing.
The Church Commissioners for England has appointed Jennifer Longstaff, formerly associate director of Savills’ Newcastle office, as Strategic Land and Affordable Housing Asset Manager.

Longstaff will help drive forward the Church Commissioners’ ambitions for affordable housing delivery, particularly in rural areas, across the Church Commissioners’ land portfolio. 

The Commissioners’ real asset portfolio includes significant landholdings, which have a critical role to play in supporting rural communities and maintaining their vibrancy across the country, including through the delivery of new housing.  

A chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Longstaff has nearly 15 years’ experience working for Savills undertaking project development and securing planning permissions to support new developments, including rural housing. 

At Savills, she managed several smaller development sites, as well as successful larger housing and mixed-use projects across the North of England. She also worked closely with the Church Commissioners’ teams as a development consultant on their rural housing projects across England, with great success.

The Church Commissioners expect to deliver 9,000 affordable homes across its land portfolio in the next 15 years and, additionally, are seeking to accelerate the delivery of small-scale rural affordable housing sites across England, in partnership with housing associations and local housebuilders. 

Recent successes that Longstaff will seek to replicate include collaborations 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.

Joanna Loxton, head of strategic land investment at the Church Commissioners, says: 
“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, aligned with the values outlined in the Archbishops’ Coming Home report that was published last year.  

“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.”

Mersham Housing Development