Councils that bring forward brownfield land for development could benefit from a share of £5 million to get work started on the new homes, under plans announced today (7 August 2014).
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said this previously developed land could help pave the way for planning permissions on up to 200,000 new homes across the country.
To qualify for the funding, councils will need to consult on a local development order on the land they identify - making it easier and quicker for developers to get work started.
Unlocking brownfield sites
Applying local development orders is a flexible way to grant planning permission, as they can be used to set out the amount and type of housing that can be built on the sites.
Today’s fund will help get local development orders on brownfield land with up to 100 bids each benefiting from up to £50,000 across this and next year.
Key safeguards will be in place - for example, as with any planning application councils will need to take account of the views of local people, as well as the housing needs of their communities.
There is enough previously developed brownfield land to deliver up to 200,000 new homes - and with housing a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan, ministers are looking for permissions for homes to be in place on more than 90% of this by 2020.
Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said:
By investing billions in our affordable housing programme, and launching schemes like Help to Buy, we’ve got Britain building, with housebuilding levels at their highest since 2007.
But with enough brownfield land available for up to 200,000 homes we can do more. Today’s fund will get local development orders in place on brownfield land across the country, paving the way for more to come forward in the future.
Getting work started on new homes
In addition to today’s fund, Mr Lewis has also launched a £3 million site capacity fund to get work started on as many as 85 new housing sites where development has been agreed - helping to accelerate up to 25,000 new homes.
Leading developers are also building more as a direct result of the government’s Help to Buy scheme - meaning private housebuilding is up 34% over the past year.
The invitation to bid for local development orders for housing development on brownfield land has been published today.
The government has put in place a range of schemes to help builders access development finance and get building – all of which have helped boost housebuilding to its highest levels since 2007. These include:
The Builders Finance Fund - this £525 million fund will provide development finance for smaller sites to support the construction of up to 15,000 new homes. The new investment will be made available to unlock “shovel-ready” sites between 15 to 250 homes, which have their plans in place and the support of local people, but need a bit of help to get development moving.
The large sites infrastructure programme - this £1 billion fund is designed to help accelerate and unlock housing developments of at least 1,500 housing units that have slowed down or stalled completely, helping to tackle the often-complex issues that prevent work from continuing and helping to deliver viable schemes that offer the new homes and infrastructure for the benefit of the local community.
The Local Growth Fund (Housing Infrastructure) prospectus - the Local Growth Fund provides the levers for local enterprise partnerships to agree Local Growth Deals with central government, using their local knowledge, creativity and ambition to identify local priorities. The £50 million funding from this will be used to speed up and restart housing developments of between 250 and 1,499 units that have slowed down or stalled, and will support the construction of up to 250,000 new homes between 2015 and 2020 overall.
Locally-led garden cities prospectus - this invites local authorities to put forward their ideas for how they wish to develop garden cities, how they wish to make use of the existing central government funding and support and what other freedoms, flexibilities and support they need to make ambitious new garden cities a reality. The first of these will be at Ebbsfleet, where an Urban Development Corporation will drive forward locally-led plans, alongside £200 million infrastructure funding, to kickstart development.
Site capacity funding - this £3 million fund will speed up getting work started on as many as 85 new housing sites across the country where development has been agreed. The funding is available to councils to tackle planning issues that can cause delay and prevent builders from getting on site and starting work quickly. It will help accelerate as many as 25,000 new homes.