UK Government announces £18 million fund to speed up new home building

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The UK government has confirmed a new £18 million fund to speed up house building on large sites in England and that it says will provide thousands of new homes where people want to live.

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. Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said 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 six new housing zones that will support development on brownfield land to provide 10,000 homes and 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.

‘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,’ said Barwell.

‘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,’ he added.

Barwell explained that the fund 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.

Housing zones are areas of brownfield land where councils work in partnership with private developers to deliver thousands of new homes and the six new zones 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. Overall there are now 26 housing zones across the country due to deliver 440,000 new homes.

The six new housing zones are in Sheffield in South Yorkshire, Grimsby and Cleethorpes in North East Lincolnshire, Barnsley in South Yorkshire, Sandwell in the West Midlands, Blackburn and Burnley in Lancashire and the Wirral in Merseyside.

The new locally led garden town at Otterpool Park 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.

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