The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced that enough unused public sector land has been released to build over 103,000 new homes, some of which it is hoped will be self/custom built properties.
The amount of land sold by the government surpasses the original commitment set by the Prime Minister, and is expected to increase.
The government is now calling on councils and developers to help turn this ‘new’ land into housing as soon as possible. It is also urging local authorities to follow the government’s example and sell their redundant sites and buildings.
Explaining how this initiative forms part of government thinking, Eric Pickles said:
“House building is at the heart of the government’s long-term economic plan. That’s why, rather than leaving surplus public sector land idle, we are putting it to good use by releasing it to build new homes across the country.
“This is part of wider efforts that have got Britain building again, leading to the delivery of 700,000 new homes since the end of 2009. I now want to see councils following Whitehall’s example and explore what they can do to release land and deliver new homes and savings for local taxpayers.”
The amount of land sold by the government surpasses the original commitment set in June 2011 and there are plans to release land with capacity for 150,000 homes between 2015 and 2020.
The Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis added:
“Housing starts are at their highest annual total since 2007, but it’s clear we need to maintain this momentum and build the homes communities want and need.
“That’s why for the last 4 years we’ve pulled out all the stops to release formerly-used surplus public sector land for house building – meaning we have now exceeded our own target.”
The land released to date comprises of 899 sites across England, and includes:
- Ministry of Defence – enough land for 38,661 homes, released ahead of schedule
- Homes and Communities Agency – enough land for 18,307 homes
- Department of Health and NHS – enough land for 13,039 homes
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – enough land for 11,675 homes
- London Legacy Development Corporation – enough land for 6,321 homes
- Department for Transport – enough land for 4,653 homes
- Public Corporations, such as Crown Estates – enough land for 4,113 homes
- Greater London Authority – enough land for 2,652 homes
- Ministry of Justice – enough land for 1,804 homes
- Other smaller departments – enough land for 1,967 homes
By David Mote, Editor