News - Construction News

Government land to provide over 100,000 new homes

Government land sales surpass original commitment set by Prime Minister

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced that the Government has released enough public sector land to build over 103,000 new homes across the country. This is more land that was originally committed by David Cameron in June 2011 and is expected to rise by the end of March.

The Government is now calling on councils and developers to make use of the land, and help turn it into housing as soon as possible. Local authorities up and down the country are also being urged to follow the Government’s example and sell off unused sites and redundant buildings.

Communities Secretary 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.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “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 four 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.”

In addition to the figures released yesterday the Government has plans to release land with capacity of a further 150,000 between 2015 and 2020.

The Government has carried out a number of measures which should boost house building and get more people into their own home. These include simplifying the planning system, making it easier to convert empty buildings into new homes and prioritising development on brownfield land.

These measures have resulted in house building starts now being at their highest level since 2007, empty homes are at the lowest level since records began and schemes backed by Government have helped nearly 192,000 people buy or reserve a property since 2010.

The figures released yesterday show that 899 sites across England have been freed up for house building. These include:

  • Ministry of Defence (MOD) land at Aldershot in Hampshire where planning has been granted for up to 3,850 homes, road improvements, two new primary schools, extensions to two secondary schools, two new pre-schools and 100 hectares of managed green space comprising of play areas and sports and community facilities.
  • British Railways Board land at Bexhill which was an oil storage depot with railway sidings site. Barrett has gained permission to build 64 properties on the site which will be a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes.
  • London and Continental Railways released land at Stratford City former rail land in 2011 which has been developed into ‘Stratford One’, a 28-storey building next to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park  which holds accommodation for more than 1,000 students.

The release of land is as follows:

  • 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