Press release

New £18 million fund to accelerate house building

Fund announced to speed up house building on large sites and that will provide thousands of new homes where people want to live.

House building

A new £18 million fund to speed up house building on large sites and that will provide thousands of new homes where people want to live, is announced today (11 November 2016) by the Housing Minister Gavin Barwell.

From today councils can bid for a share of the ‘capacity fund’ to tackle planning issues that can cause delay and prevent builders from getting on site and starting work quickly.

The money will help accelerate delivery of up to 800,000 homes and infrastructure across large sites in England and is part of a wider package of measures to increase the number of much needed homes in local areas.

Additional measures include:

  • creating 6 new Housing Zones that will support development on brownfield land to provide 10,000 homes
  • government support and funding for a new locally-led Garden Town at Otterpool Park, Shepway in Kent which will deliver up to 12,000 new homes

Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell said:

We want to turbo-charge house building on large sites to get the homes built in the places people want to live, so that this country works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

These sites offer enormous potential to transform brownfield land into new homes and our £18 million funding will help get them built much sooner.

Furthermore, we are getting behind plans for a new Garden Town which offers a unique opportunity to boost the local economy, jobs and provide new homes in Shepway, Kent.

Capacity funding offers crucial investment to prevent large-scale, long-term developments from stalling. It provides local authorities with the capacity to take projects forward and obtain additional resources and expertise.

It will primarily be aimed at large sites of 1,500 units or more, and Housing Zones, which support the development of brownfield land. Developers will also be able to apply for funding from the Home Building Fund, which is making £3 billion available to house builders.

New Housing Zones

Housing Zones are areas of brownfield land where councils work in partnership with private developers to deliver thousands of new homes.

The 6 zones announced today will help deliver almost 10,000 new homes on brownfield land and all can access the capacity funding to help unlock their full potential.

Ministers have also announced that they intend to invite local authorities to submit proposals for new areas to be designated as Housing Zones.

The 6 new Housing Zones are:

  • Sheffield Housing Zone, South Yorkshire
  • North East Lincolnshire Urban Housing Zone, with sites in Grimsby and Cleethorpes
  • Hoyland-Wombwell Strategic Housing Zone, Barnsley, South Yorkshire
  • Sandwell Housing Zone, Sandwell, West Midlands
  • Pennine-Lancashire Housing Zone, with sites in Blackburn and Burnley
  • Wirral Waters Housing Zone, Merseyside

There are now more than 26 Housing Zones across the country which will help deliver 44,000 homes, with an additional 31 designated within London.

New Garden Town

This new locally-led Garden Town at Otterpool Park, Shepway in Kent will be built on previously developed land and public sector land and will deliver up to 12,000 new homes along with schools and other essential facilities.

In addition, a further £1.5 million is being provided to support existing Garden Towns and Communities at Bicester, Didcot, Basingstoke, North Essex and North Northamptonshire.

Further information

The government has provided capacity funding every year since 2013.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) will continue to support local authorities dealing with these challenging sites and will oversee the bidding process for this fund.

Capacity funding helps local authorities to understand planning, viability and infrastructure requirements on challenging sites, placing them in a stronger position when dealing with planning issues and developer negotiations.

Otterpool Park Garden Town will be supported with £750,000 of additional government capacity funding that will help kick-start work and enable the local council to take forward their proposal.

These measures build on plans announced by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid to get Britain building including using public land and £2 billion of investment to encourage new developers to build at up to double the rate of traditional house builders, delivering thousands of homes in this Parliament on surplus public sector land. A White Paper will also be published to set out further measures to help get this country building the homes we need.

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Published 11 November 2016