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  5. 6 October 2011
  6. Housing drive gathers momentum

Housing drive gathers momentum

Housing Minister Grant Shapps has revealed that Government plans to release formerly-used public land with enough capacity to build up to 100,000 new homes by 2015 are gathering momentum.

Four departments (Defence, Transport, Health and Environment and Rural Affairs) with significant landholdings have just published strategies that set out how their formerly-used land and property have the capacity to deliver more than 50,000 new homes.

The Government already estimates that some 11,000 new dwellings will be achieved through the release of land owned by the Homes and Communities Agency. 

The minister has also announced fresh steps to help communities across the country reclaim and develop hundreds of acres of unused public sector land and buildings, which could be used to deliver the schemes communities want to see in their areas.

Members of the public will now be able to request a sale of public land and buildings by filling in a simple and user friendly form.

The improved process for requesting the sale of public land and property will be one way of applying for land to be released by Government departments. It will also apply to land owned by councils and other public bodies.

Mr Shapps said: "I'm delighted that Government departments have quickly taken up the ambitious challenge to release land with capacity for over 50,000 new homes, and that property specialists will continue to work with these departments to make sure that no stone is left unturned. I will look to ensure that as much of this public land as possible is available under our innovative Build Now, Pay Later model - helping get developers on site and laying the foundations for these homes as quickly as possible.”

The minister will also look at ways of extending the Coalition’s innovative ‘Build Now, Pay Later’ initiative to as much formerly-used public land as possible.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, both Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne stressed the Government’s commitment to a housing target of around 200,000 homes by 2015 as a result of freeing up publicly-owned land and using the receipts from a revived Right to Buy scheme to help bankroll a “housing revolution”.

In a separate but related development, Housing Minister Grant Shapps has welcomed a five per cent increase in affordable housing provision over the past 12 months.

According to official figures released by the Government, a total of 60,630 affordable homes were supplied in England in 2010-2011. This represented a five per cent increase from the previous 12 months and was the largest number of homes since 1995-1996.

Read the DCLG press notice on formerly used public land.

Read the DCLG Affordable Housing Supply, England, 2010-11 summary.


Roger Milne

6 October 2011