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Public land to be sold for home building

There can be few that are not aware of the desperate need for new homes to be built, particularly for first time buyers; one of the main constraints is the lack of available land. However the government is to release 80 public sites, with the promise of a further 40 within a period of 18 months all of which will be suitable to develop new houses. The total amount announced so far is 600 acres and it is estimated that this amount of land will be sufficient for 5,000 homes, there will be some available for industry and 20% of the land has already got outline planning permission.

Making the announcement, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis pointed out that the government has undertaken the biggest house building programme seen in the country since 1970 and 160,000 new homes could be in line to be constructed by the sale of surplus land. He went on to say that by using surplus land we can get the country building again, which will not only provide homes but will support local economies and the taxpayer.

Builders are to be invited to look at sites through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) which is the government’s disposal agency for surplus public land. Up to now the government has released enough public sector land to support more than 109,000 homes during the last parliament.

The government does have a lot of land, obtained at various times, and by setting up a new Land Development and Disposal Plan, this will endeavour to set up key principles which will help dispose of the surplus land. Working with the HCA and through cooperation with the Home Builders Federation and its members, it has been able to establish clearer objectives for each site prior to sale.

Lack of building land has plagued the industry for many years, and it is hoped that by releasing some of the surplus land held by government, the industry can get doing what it does best, building.

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