Housing Minister Grant Shapps has said that Whitehall departments are on target to exceed the ambition of the Prime Minister to release previously-used public land for building new homes.
New figures released this week show that Ministers have identified enough surplus public land, including empty offices, unused storage and empty public service buildings, to build 102,000 homes. This surpasses the ambition of the Prime Minister to release enough land for 100,000 homes by 2015.
Organisations across the public services, including the NHS, Ministry of Defence and Department for Transport will now play a critical role in helping to build the new homes that are needed by communities.
Examples of previously-used public land sites that are set to be released and sold for new homes include:
– Princess Marina Hospital, Northampton. The former NHS site has been sold and has outline planning consent for 550 homes including 12 flats for junior doctors
– Foxhill, Bath. The Ministry of Defence site could provide land for over 600 homes
– Hertford East coal yard. Department for Transport land which could be used for 50 homes
– RAF Brampton, Huntingdonshire. A former Ministy of Defence site has the capacity for 400 homes
– Leicester Frith Farm, Lady Hay Road, Leicester. Former farm buildings from the Department of Health which could potentially be converted into 10 homes
– Long Benton, Newcastle. The former DEFRA veterinary investigation centre land will be used for around 50 homes, with a minimum of 12 affordable housing units.
– Calvert Lane, Hull Springbank. A former Department for Transport site which could provide 105 homes
– Erskine Barracks, Wilton. Previously a Ministry of Defence barracks, this land could have the capacity for up to 450 homes
The public sector owns an estimated 40% of the larger sites suitable for development. Grant Shapps has pledged that Government departments will continue to identify and make available as many previously-used public land sites as possible for use of building new housing stock. The departments should work with the Homes and Communities Agency to make the land available as soon as possible whilst still ensuring the tax payer gets best value for money.
Shapps is also looking at extending the ‘Build Now, Pay Later’ deal for developers. This allows the builders to start work on thousands of new homes without the initial outlay of buying the land.
Ministers are also committed to making the information about the land freely available. This means that communities can see what opportunities may exist for advancing local projects to meet local needs.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps commented:
“Government is one of the country’s biggest landowners — it’s only right that we make the best use of our assets, and I can’t think of a better use than building the homes this country needs.
“We are already on target to smash the Prime Minister’s ambition to release previously-used public land for housing: enough land has already been identified to support more than 102,000 homes. But we’re not stopping there — I’m determined to continue looking for more sites suitable for housebuilding.
“And as this work continues we’ll support developers getting on site quickly, through the innovative Build Now, Pay Later deal. This gives builders access to land they only pay for after the homes are built, laying the foundations for new homes and neighbourhoods right across the country.”
Other measures that have been introduced to encourage housebuilding include:
– An extra £150 million to Get Britain Building, making a total fund of £570 million for work to be started on stalled sites. This should lead to an extra 16,000 new homes
– The £4.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme which is set to deliver 170,000 new homes
– The NewBuy Guarantee scheme to lessen the amount of deposit required for those wishing to buy new build properties
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