More Public Land Released for Homes
The government has announced that it has released a substantial amount of public-sector land that was unused in order for developers to build much-needed new homes. This is part of a long-term plan to provide space for residential developments, and it works in collaboration with their other initiatives to boost housing development and ownership.
Announcing the news, Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, said that the amount of land they have already released is more than they initially committed to. This figure will also rise further by the end of this month and is an area the government is committed to for the future. The space that has now become available has the potential for 103,000 new properties to be built on it.
There are currently 899 sites that have been released for development throughout England. This land includes Ministry of Defence sites, derelict storage depots and unused railway land and buildings. There are plans in place already to develop some of the space into residential housing stock. The type of properties that are being built will vary depending on the local requirements. These include high0rise apartments, affordable homes, student accommodation and family homes - perhaps with a wrought iron fence around the properties.
The government wants large- and small-scale developers, as well as local authorities, to buy up this land and use it to create the necessary housing stock as soon as they can. It also called for councils to release some of their sites that are no longer required for additional developments. There is a great deal of land across the country that is redundant and will not be required by the public sector. Rather than sitting empty and becoming derelict, it can be put to better use to help the country’s housing crisis.
The Government’s Housing Commitments
Recent figures released by Brandon Lewis, the Housing Minister, show that the rate of housing starts is now at its highest level since 2007. However, this is still not sufficient to build the number of homes that are actually necessary, and we still require an increase in the number of new properties. The government has plans for more land to be released between now and 2020. This should have the space for an additional 150,000 properties, some of which may have features such as extended gardens, balconies or a wrought iron fence.
This announcement builds on the government’s commitment to support the housing and construction sectors as they recover following the recession. They have already put steps in place to alter the planning system, creating a simpler process where developers can use brownfield land or convert existing buildings without too much red tape. They have helped to reduce the number of empty properties and enabled more people to get on the property ladder through schemes such as Help to Buy.
With this potential land now available, it should further increase the number of housing starts and completions, giving buyers a greater choice of available properties.