The UK’s regeneration quango was forced to write down £320m on its extensive land holdings in its last financial year as the property market was hit by the credit crunch.

English Partnerships had posted an operating loss of £492.2m in its 2008-09 accounts, it admitted in its annual report – which was quietly posted on a website that was supposedly defunct.

The body has played a vital role in Britain’s urban renaissance in recent years, using public land to create housing, new towns and other regeneration projects. It was merged with the Housing Corporation last December to create a super quango called the Homes and Communities Agency.

As a result of its financial travails, however, it had to seek an extra £67m of funding from the department of communities, it has emerged.

Financial Times