Press release

HCA on track to bring more public land to market

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The HCA has added more surplus public land sites to its portfolio as it reports an increased number of disposals in the past 12 months.

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In the financial year 2013 to 2014, through its land programmes, the HCA has:

  • disposed of enough land for 5,944 homes, against a target of 4,771 homes – 25% higher than target (in 2012 to 2013, enough land was disposed of for 4,704 homes, against a target of 3,370)
  • brought 114 hectares of previously developed land back into use for housing or commercial development, against a target of 98 hectares (in 2012 to 2013, more than 113 hectares of previously developed land was brought into use, against a target of 94 hectares)

Based on this performance, the HCA is on track to dispose of enough land by April 2015 to build more than 16,000 homes, as part of the government’s commitment to supporting the construction of up to 100,000 new homes.

As the HCA prepares to become the government’s land disposal agency, from 1 April 2015, it is already adding surplus public land to its disposal pipeline. Last year, it acquired 20 surplus sites from central government and it recently acquired the following 6 NHS Trust sites:

  • Alexandra Hospital, Redditch (1.43 hectares)
  • Belle Vue, Manchester (0.37 hectares)
  • Graylingwell, Chichester (7 hectares)
  • Lea Castle, Kidderminster (9.03 hectares)
  • Saltergate, Chesterfield (1.1 hectares)
  • Seacroft, Leeds (7.4 hectares)

In addition, NHS Property Services recently transferred the following sites, which are surplus to NHS requirements, to the HCA:

  • Hitchin Hospital, North Hertfordshire
  • Moorgreen Hospital, Hampshire
  • Moorpark Offices , Lancaster
  • Royal Albert Farm, Lancaster
  • Shefford Health Centre, Beds
  • Standish Hospital, Stroud

HCA’s Head of Land, Claire O’Shaughnessy, said:

The HCA is increasing the amount of public land coming forward for development, speeding up existing development and re-starting stalled schemes.

Our expanding public land role builds on our strengths of bringing sites to market for development and our local market knowledge. We are adding more sites to our delivery pipeline, such as the recent acquisitions from NHS trusts, and piloting a new transfer model as part of our new role.

In the coming months, we will refine our disposal processes, reflecting feedback from the sector and building on the successes of initiatives such as our fast-track procurement process and deferred receipts.

Prior to marketing, the HCA takes appropriate steps to reduce development risk – such as remediation, putting in infrastructure, or taking them through the early stages of planning – to optimise their attractiveness to developers. Sites are disposed of on a competitive basis, many through the HCA’s Delivery Partner Panel, which speeds up and reduces the cost of procuring a development partner for the HCA and other public bodies; while many will be sold on a build now, pay later basis, improving developer cash flows and making marginal sites viable.

The Delivery Partner Panel has been used to procure 14,000 homes in the last year. It is available to other public bodies for free, with 50 organisations currently signed up to use it.

Published 23 April 2014