Aerial view of land and positioning point area.

More affordable housing powers

Local councils are to be given more power to build much-needed affordable housing, thanks to the ability to purchase cheaper land.

Coming as part of the government’s long-term plan for housing, these reforms will allow councils to use ‘Compulsory Purchase Orders’ (CPOs) to buy land for the development of housing without paying ‘hope value’ costs. ‘Hope value’ costs are often inflated as they are based on the estimated value of the land if it was to be further developed on in the future, meaning that many councils often end up paying over the odds for important land, or get engaged in lengthy cost disputes.

Cheaper costs for the purchase of housing will ensure that councils are able to easier transform communities, and begin to tackle the worsening homelessness crisis around the country.

Jacob Young, Levelling Up Minister, said:

“Our changes will act as a catalyst for investment in our towns and cities and drive much needed regeneration in communities across the country.

“We know we need to build more homes and alongside our Long Term Plan for Housing, these changes will help us to do that, unlocking more sites for affordable and social housing, as well as supporting jobs and growing the economy.”

Thanks to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023, public sector organisations are able to apply to the Secretary of State to remove ‘hope value’ under the condition that the purchase will be used for developments that are in the public interest and is supporting affordable or social housing as well as health or educational uses.

Successful examples of CPOs being used to accelerate development include:

  • Leicester – Regeneration and the development of up to 500 new homes by bringing derelict industrial land into use
  • Sheffield – Homes, offices, retail, leisure and hotel being developed on formerly derelict land
  • Wellingborough – Acquiring empty retail space to allow for new housing developments
  • Helmsley – Kickstarting the development of new housing, which was previously stalled by the former landowner
Compulsory purchase order quote

National Housing Federation Chief Executive Kate Henderson added:

“Enabling local councils to buy cheaper land through Compulsory Purchase Orders without paying ‘hope value’ will allow them to build more of the desperately needed affordable homes the country needs, in the right places for the people who need it most.

“To solve the housing crisis and unlock the land needed for these homes, these changes must sit alongside the wider reforms to planning policy which should form part of a nationally coordinated fully funded long-term plan for housing.”

This news comes at an important time, with affordable homes being required more than ever. The government’s recently released statutory homelessness figures outlines that there has been a 15% increase in the number of households with children place in temporary accommodation.

 

Image credit: iStock

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