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Pickles unveils plans to boost housing supply

Tags: housing investment, CIH, housing market, construction

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has unveiled to the CIH annual conference plans for more investment to boost the supply of new homes.

Pickles said: "In 2010 we inherited a paralysed housing market and a collapsing rate of construction. Since then we’ve delivered over 445,000 new homes [of all types], and housebuilding is at its highest rate since 2007 and still climbing. The resurgence in housebuilding is clear evidence that the government’s long-term economic plan is working, but there is still more to do."

On the programmes (details below), Pickles said: "The investment we’re announcing today will help us meet this challenge by driving up the supply of new homes in every corner of the housing market. From new places for rent to people designing to those building their own properties – we will support and deliver the homes this country needs."

Those programmes in detail (from a DCLG press release):

  • Over £53 million will accelerate construction of more than 7,000 homes on large developments in Manchester, Medway, Swindon and Kettering. The new deals will bring the total number of homes supported through the Local Infrastructure Fund to over 80,000 since the scheme began in 2012.
  • The government has set aside £1 billion over the next 5 years for further rounds of the programme. So far 56 bids have been received "which demonstrate the strong interest from developers in getting workers back on stalled large-scale sites and to deliver the homes", the DCLG said. An announcement about the shortlisted bids for the first round of funding will be made later in the summer.
  • A new £3m fund to help planning authorities tackle barriers to work starting on site – the fund will give authorities additional capacity to focus on issues such as finalising section 106 agreements and signing off planning conditions, to help get work started on sites as quickly as possible. The fund could accelerate starts on up to 85 sites with the potential for up to 25,000 homes.
  • Over £49m will support 3 new schemes under the Build to Rent programme in Hampshire and Croydon. The funding will help deliver over 540 homes specifically for private rent, bringing the total number of homes supported through the programme so far to over 1,600.
  • A new prospectus for a new £150m investment fund for 10,000 ‘serviced plots’ will be published. The funding will help bring forward 'shovel ready' sites where people can hire a developer to build the home they want, a type of development known as custom build. A demonstration site at Park Prewett, near Basingstoke, will begin shortly.

Brian Church, 24dash.com

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