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Pickles unveils new funding package to boost housing

The government has released a package of funds worth more than £100m to help boost the supply of new homes in all areas of the country.

Unveiled by Eric Pickles at the Chartered Institute for Housing (CIH) conference, the communities secretary highlighted that more than £53m will be made available to “accelerate” the 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

In addition, a new £3m fund to help planning authorities tackle barriers to work starting on site will be introduced. 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.

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, and house building is at its highest rate since 2007 and still climbing.

“The resurgence in house building is clear evidence that the government’s long-term economic plan is working, but there is still more to do.”

The government will also provide more than £49m to support three 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.

The projects include:

  • Berewood, Hampshire: £6.3m loan will deliver 106 new homes
  • Aldershot, Hampshire: £23.7m loan delivering 219 new homes
  • Croydon, south London: £19.8m loan will deliver 216 new homes

A new prospectus for a new £150m investment fund for 10,000 ‘serviced plots’ will also 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.

The funding will provide a repayable loan for infrastructure works to provide these shovel ready plots for sale. Bids will need to be submitted to the Homes and Communities Agency by 30 September 2014.

Steve Stride, chief executive of Poplar HARCA, also addressed the conference. He said: “The role that CIH members play in the next few years will determine the housing outcomes for a generation. We have a unique opportunity to learn lessons from the past and structure a new housing offer, one that is equitable, one that offers real choice for all and one that supports every household, irrespective of background, age or income.

“Not all solutions come from government - not everything requires the public purse. Professionals too must not shirk from the challenge.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]

(Image: John Blower)


Richard Kemp   28/06/2014 at 12:19

For the last 30 years we have consistently built less homes than we need. A failure to provide sufficient capital for building, especially for social housing, has meant to us paying far more for housing benefit as the market operates to raise prices because of a scarcity. We are still not building enough although I recognise that this Government has done more than the last. It is an indictment of Labour policy that that were 430,000 less social homes in 2010 than there were in 1997. Even now RTB money is now being being fully back into the build cycle.

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