Government to commission new homes on publicly owned land

The government is to commission thousands of new affordable homes on publicly owned land as part of its plan to ease the housing shortage.

The sites will be sold with planning permission already in place so that building can begin straightaway. The aim is to open up plots that are not big enough to interest large construction companies but would be suitable for smaller building firms.

It’s hoped this will lead to quality homes being built at a faster rate, with smaller firms – currently unable to take on major projects – able to start building on government sites that are currently not being used.

The government is also setting up a £1.2bn starter home fund to prepare brownfield sites for new homes. This will fast-track the creation of at least 30,000 new starter homes and up to 30,000 general market homes on 500 new sites by 2020.

The first wave of up to 13,000 homes will start on 4 sites outside of London this year – up to 40% will be affordable ‘starter’ homes.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “Currently the top eight house builders provide 50% of new homes. The direct commissioning approach will support smaller builders and new entrants who are ready to build but lack the resources and access to land.”

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “When it comes to building new homes, the availability of small sites is the single biggest barrier to SME house builders increasing their output.

“It is also encouraging that the majority of these sites will already have planning permission in place as obtaining permission is all-too-often a lengthy and protracted process – avoiding this time delay should help house builders increase their supply much more quickly.”

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