News story

Government drive to use land and property for growth

Government is encouraging local councils to release surplus public land and property, as part of the government's productivity plan.

The Cabinet Office and the Local Government Association (LGA) are encouraging local councils to ​share buildings and services, reduce running costs and release land to boost development.

Local councils: find out how to get involved in the ​One Public Estate programme

The Budget announced £6 million for forming new partnerships of councils to transform local services and boost local growth.

The 32 councils that are currently on the programme own 28% of council land and property assets in England. They expect to provide an additional 9,000 homes and 20,000 jobs. They also expect to raise £129 million in capital receipts from land sales and cut running costs by £77 million over 5 years.

Minister for Cabinet Office, The Rt Hon Matthew Hancock said:

Over the last 5 years the government’s property reforms have raised £1.4 billion for hard-working taxpayers and in the years ahead we will go further, and faster.

By freeing up land and encouraging growth we are helping local communities to spring to life and find a new use for old government land.

LGA Chairman, Councillor Gary Porter, said:

Through One Public Estate, councils have shown that they are perfectly placed to act as leaders of place and deliver effective cross public sector asset management. It is great to see in practice and how through the programme we are seeing the integration of services, local economic growth, and support more sustainable local government.

It’s clear this isn’t easy work and the investment of time, energy and patience, as well as funds, needs to go hand in hand with strong leadership. But I think what the One Public Estate programme has shown us is that the hard work is worth it.

Successes to date include City of York Council entering a partnership with Network Rail to jointly release city centre land for the development of 1,100 new homes and 80,000 square metres of central business district. Also Leeds City Council working in partnership with Leeds Community Health on joint use of their land and property to underpin delivery of integrated health and social care services across the city.

Read more about the One Public Estate programme.