Ministers have announced another package of measures to ‘speed up house building’, including support for a new Garden Town and £18m to help councils tackle planning issues.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) claimed an £18m ‘capacity fund’ would help accelerate delivery of up to 800,000 homes and infrastructure across large sites in England.
Other measures include creating six new Housing Zones to support development on brownfield land including 10,000 homes, and £750,000 of capacity funding for a new ‘locally-led Garden Town’ in Shepway in Kent, which will deliver up to 12,000 new homes.
Housing minister Gavin Barwell said: ‘We want to turbo-charge house building on large sites to get the homes built in the places people want to live, so that this country works for everyone, not just the privileged few.
‘These sites offer enormous potential to transform brownfield land into new homes and our £18m funding will help get them built much sooner.’
Although the DCLG described the capacity fund as ‘new’, it acknowledged that the Government has provided capacity funding every year since 2013.
Councils can bid to the Homes and Communities Agency for a share of the fund, which helps provide the capacity to take projects forward and obtain additional resources and expertise.
It will primarily be aimed at sites of 1,500 units or more, and Housing Zones - areas of brownfield land where councils work in partnership with private developers to deliver thousands of new homes.
Ministers said they intend to invite local authorities to submit proposals for new areas to be designated as Housing Zones.
John Healey MP, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for housing, said: ‘This is a drop in the ocean compared to what’s needed to deal with the housing crisis. Ministers are set to spend around £2bn less this year on housing than under Labour. So an £18m fund won’t come anywhere near compensating for previous short-sighted cuts.
‘The country deserves a proper plan for fixing the housing crisis, not more hot air.’