Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference, Cabinet Office Minister Lord Agnew, announced that the Government is giving an additional £30m to the Land Release Fund (LRF) and One Public Estate (OPE) programmes in order to help release surplus land for housing and support local economies to bounce back from the pandemic.
The LRF will allow councils to bid for £20m remediation works and infrastructure to bring their surplus sites forward for housing to be built.
The OPE programme will provide £10m, supporting the earliest stages of development in housing projects. New and existing partnerships will be able to bid for practical support to deliver ambitious property programmes in collaboration with central government and other public sector partners, which deliver homes, jobs, efficiencies and improved public services.
Earlier in the week housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, set out how £12bn of funding would be used to assist local authorities in building affordable housing across their communities.
Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:
“Councils continue to lead their communities through the coronavirus crisis, working closely with other local partners including health and emergency services.
“One Public Estate will play a crucial role as we move into the next phase and help with the local and national economic recovery. This additional funding will support councils to make better use of their assets, including their spare land and property, to help join up local services.”
The announcement comes alongside measures to transform unused land to deliver much-needed new homes, including the announcement last month that the government is investing £360 million in Mayoral Combined Authority areas. This will deliver approximately 26,000 new homes while ensuring that greenfield sites are protected.