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Government boosts funding to unlock council owned land

Friday 16 February 2018

The Government have unlocked £45 million in funding to support councils in freeing up land for thousands of new homes.

As part of the Government’s drive to get Britain building homes again, a total of 79 projects from Newcastle to Plymouth will receive a cash injection to support the building of up to 7,280 homes on council owned land.

To help councils meet their ambition of unlocking enough land for at least 160,000 homes by 2020, 41 local authorities will be able to tap into the Land Release Fund to combat barriers which would otherwise make land unusable for development.

The projects – which aim to support building strong communities – include a range of necessary works such as asbestos removal and bat alleviation, as well as schemes that will significantly improve quality of life such as the relocation of pedestrian crossings.

This move comes two weeks after the projects set to benefit from the first wave of funding from the £5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund were announced, which will help to get up to 200,000 homes off the ground through investment in local housing projects. This is part of the government’s strategy of planning reform and targeted investment to build 300,000 new homes a year.

Housing and Planning Minister Dominic Raab MP commented:

"We are investing £45 million to build roads and provide utilities, so councils can release the land to get up to 7,280 new homes built. It’s part of our strategy to build the homes Britain needs, and carry local communities with us. We’re determined to make buying or renting more affordable for young families and those on low or middle incomes."

Funding from the Land Release Fund will support projects across the country, including:

  • £1.7 million for Poulton-Le-Fylde, Lancashire, to build new roads, roundabouts, and utility services, which will unlock up to 330 homes potentially built with Japanese modular housing techniques.
  • Worcester will receive £750,000 to demolish a leisure centre and undergo asbestos decontamination works near its city centre, helping to unlock up to 50 homes.
  • Paignton, Devon, has planned works to build a new 350m sewer, drainage upgrades and two new roads, which will help unlock up to 200 homes, costing £1.9 million.
  • Brighton, Sussex, to divert a public sewer and make electricity substation and highways improvements, with the £335,000 project helping to unlock up to 30 homes.

The fund is being administered through a partnership with the Local Government Association and Cabinet Office’s One Public Estate (OPE) programme, which determine the best use of council land and resources through practical advice and support. OPE already works with over 70 per cent of councils in England to transform local communities and services through large scale economic growth, delivering new jobs and new homes.