Government Sold Enough Public Land Build Over 100000 Homes

According to new figures released by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, the government has sold enough unused public land to build over 103,000 homes.

The amount of land sold by the government exceeds the Prime Minister’s original commitment and is expected to rise again by the end of March this year. In addition, between 2015 and 2020, there are plans to release land with a capacity of 150,000 homes.

“Housing starts are at their highest annual total since 2007, but it’s clear that we need to keep this momentum going and build the homes that communities want and need,” said Housing Minister Brandon Lewis. “That’s why, over the last four years, we’ve gone above and beyond to free up previously-used surplus public sector land for housing development – meaning we’ve now exceeded our own target.”

The government is now urging councils and developers to assist in converting it to housing as soon as possible, and is urging local governments to follow its lead and sell their redundant sites and buildings.

“House construction is central to the government’s long-term economic strategy.” That is why, rather than sitting on surplus public sector land, we are putting it to good use by releasing it to build new homes across the country,” Pickles explained.

“This is part of a larger effort to get Britain building again, which has resulted in the delivery of 700,000 new homes since the end of 2009.” I now want to see councils follow Whitehall’s lead and investigate what they can do to free up land, build new homes, and save money for local taxpayers.”

To date, 899 sites in England have been released, and they include:

Planning permission has been granted for up to 3,850 homes on Ministry of Defence land in Aldershot, Hampshire, as well as road improvements, two new primary schools with 1,050 new school places, extensions to two secondary schools with over 675 new school places, two new pre-schools and day care centres, and 110 hectares of new managed green space, play areas, sports and community facilities.

Norton Barracks in Worcestershire, site of the former Army archives, was sold by the Ministry of Defence to Rooftop Housing Group in collaboration with Wychavon District Council; it is now the site of 10 new affordable homes for returning service personnel and those who have retired from the Armed Forces.

Bexhill former galley sidings – a derelict former oil storage depot with railway sidings sold by the British Railways Board; Barratt has permission to build 64 homes on the sites, a mix of two-, three-, and four-bedroom homes, including affordable housing.

Stratford City’s former railway land, which was sold by London and Continental Railways in 2011, is now the site of ‘Stratford One,’ a 28-story building next to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that houses over 1,000 students in ensuite rooms and studio apartments.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has outperformed the government’s target. By the end of February, the agency had released land for 18,307 new homes across 119 individual sites, compared to a target of 17,727.

The HCA (HCA) has already begun development on 48 of the sites released, to support the delivery of over 5,600 homes, increasing housing supply and supporting local economic growth, with the remaining sites forming a pipeline of delivery over the next few years.

“Bringing forward more land in public ownership for development and speeding up the rate at which it is made available is core business for the HCA,” said Andy Rose, the organization’s CEO. We have used our strong relationships with local governments and developers, as well as our experience managing complex and diverse sites, to make a significant contribution to the government’s ambitions for new homes and local growth.

“However, there is still much work to be done.” Bringing land to the market is the first step in the process, and we will collaborate with our partners to maximise the number of new homes built in communities by leveraging our available funding and local market knowledge. Over 5,600 new homes have already begun construction on-site, and we have a solid pipeline of future deliveries.”

From April 2011 to the present, the HCA has proposed 119 public land sites for development. It has also worked with government departments in a broader capacity to identify sites in their ownership that are suitable for development, advise on bringing them to market, and assist in unlocking sites where necessary.

40 of the HCA sites proposed are in the north of England, 38 in the midlands, and 41 in the south. Among the sites are:

Manor Kingsway is a former hospital site in Derby that is being transformed and repurposed to provide much-needed new housing, retail and commercial space, and a country park, all while supporting local jobs. The new homes are inspired by Derby’s mill heritage as well as existing architectural influences on the site.

Lancaster Moor (Lancaster Moor) – A derelict former psychiatric hospital in Lancashire is being transformed into a new community with 440 new homes. The HCA collaborated with English Heritage to make the site more appealing to developers by preparing it for development.

Centenary Quay – A former shipyard is being transformed into a thriving mixed community, bringing homes and jobs to Southampton’s deprived Woolston neighbourhood. Up to 1,000 new jobs are expected to be created as a result of the development.

From April 2015, the HCA will play a larger role in land disposal, capitalising on its strengths in bringing sites to market for development and local market knowledge.

The HCA and other public bodies use flexible disposal mechanisms such as deferred receipts, which improve developer cash flows and can make marginal sites viable; and the Developer Partner Panel, a fast-track procurement process that can speed up and reduce the cost of procuring a development partner.

The HCA’s current Land Development and Disposal Plan identifies over 200 sites that are currently being marketed or are expected to be marketed within the next 12 months.

Last Updated on December 28, 2021


Author: Indra Gupta

Indra is an in-house writer with a love of Newcastle United and all things sustainable.

Scroll to Top