The minister said today (12 March 2013) he was using the fund to help unlock stalled sites across the country, and called on councils and developers with other locally supported large-scale sites to come forward and tap into the government help available to get workers on sites and thousands of much-needed homes built.
The £225 million pot is part of the wider £474 million Local Infrastructure Fund, designed to stimulate economic development and get sites moving.
Bridge to building in Wokingham
As part of this, the minister announced a £24.7 million loan to Reading University to help unlock a large-scale site in Wokingham near Reading.
The Wokingham site, planned with the local community, will deliver 2,500 new homes, as well as 2 primary schools, a neighbourhood centre, shops, park and ride facilities and a new specialist Science and Research Park.
The investment will be used to build a new access road and bridge to link the new development to Wokingham town centre itself.
Wokingham is the fourth large-scale site that the government has helped to accelerate since August last year. Ministers have also helped schemes at:
- Eastern Quarry in Kent - a 22,000 home site which received help and support to progress the project
- Cranbrook near Exeter - which received £20 million to deliver 1,500 jobs, new rail links to London and 6,300 homes
- Fairfield in Milton Keynes - which will deliver 6,000 homes after discussions with the developer to move the site forward
Housing Minister Mark Prisk said:
“I’m delighted that today’s £25 million investment in the future of Wokingham will help tackle the transport troubles that are stopping the building of 2,500 homes in its tracks. But with dozens of similar stalled sites across the country, I’m determined to do more.
“That’s why today, I’m calling on councils and developers with large-scale, locally supported stalled developments to come forward and make the most of the government help available to get builders back to work and the homes we need built. With funding on offer in the form of recoverable loans, this is a win-win for the taxpayer - delivering thousands of homes and getting more bang for our buck.”
Colin Molton, Homes and Communities Agency Executive Director for the South and South West, said:
“Wokingham needs more homes to support the growth planned for the Borough, but this can’t happen without the investment in the Eastern Relief Road that the minister has announced today.
“This will play a vital part in supporting growth in a way that helps develop sustainable communities by providing a better road network and hundreds of new jobs and 2,500 new homes to Wokingham.
“We have worked hard to bring this complex agreement together in a very tight timeframe. Now the hard work really starts and we will be focused on ensuring that everything is in place so that work on building the new road can begin soon.”
Getting Britain Building
Today’s fund adds to the wide range of measures introduced since 2010 to get Britain building, help aspiring homeowners onto the property ladder and make full use of the country’s housing stock. These include:
- £19.5 billion public and private investment is track to deliver 170,000 affordable homes by 2015
- a £10 billion commitment to back house builders’ loans to deliver new homes for rent
- £1.8 billion investment in infrastructure, through the Growing Places Fund, the Local Infrastructure Fund and Get Britain Building
- 16,000 empty homes set to come back into use through the Empty Homes Fund
- a wide range of homeownership schemes helping thousands of people onto the housing ladder
- £50 billion Funding for Lending Scheme has increasing mortgage availability across the country