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Government Building Fund to Overcome Barriers to Building

On September 17, 2018 Communities Secretary Right Honourable James Brokenshire MP launched an initiative to encourage the investment needed to deal with problems on potential housing sites and get homes built in places where they are needed the most.

Problems like complex land ownership, infrastructure requirements, and land contamination can prevent homes from being built where they are needed most.

The government is now stepping in by providing two different government building funds- the Small Sites Fund and the Land Assembly Fund- for Homes England to launch. This measure is intended to free up the land needed to deliver 300,000 new homes annually by the mid-2020s.

The Land Assembly Fund, which is valued at £1.3 billion, will be used to obtain land that needs to be worked on and prepare it for the market, making developers more open to the idea of investing in it and building. Homes England will carry on this work outside of London.

The Small Sites Fund, which is valued at £630 million, is intended for local authorities or public landowners who are struggling to get building started in their area. The fund will provide money to speed up the process of getting the right infrastructure in place to enable housebuilding on small sites that have stalled.

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The Communities Secretary said that action is needed on many fronts to build the homes that the UK needs. The availability of these government building funds will enable intervention in the sites that aren’t ready to be built on or where developers have been stalled.

Developers can now start building homes without struggling with barriers, he said, adding that the government is also assisting councils that have land suitable for housing but need help in developing it.

One example of land being acquired is Burgess Hill in Sussex. Affordable housing was desperately needed but the site sat undeveloped for a long time. Homes England stepped in, purchased the land, and is also preparing to deliver the infrastructure so that roads, schools, and other essential services are in place for over 3,000 new homes scheduled to be built.

Sir Edward Lister, Chairman of Homes England, said that his organisation was stepping in to release sites to developers committed to providing homes at a prompt pace.

He said that the £1.9 billion government building fund will make it possible to invest in essential infrastructure and help local authorities build more homes on public land.

The UK government will work with the Greater London Authority to make sure that fund money will be used to deliver additional homes in London.

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