£45 million funding boost to support councils unlock land for thousands of homes

79 projects will receive funding to support building up to 7,280 homes on council owned land

house building

A £45 million cash injection into key community projects will help kick-start the building of thousands of new homes, Housing Minister Dominic Raab announced today (16 February 2018).

As part of government’s drive to get Britain building homes again, a total of 79 projects from Newcastle to Plymouth will receive funding to support building up to 7,280 homes on council owned land.

To support local councils to meet their ambition to unlock enough of land they own for at least 160,000 homes by 2020, they will be able to use the Land Release Fund money to combat barriers which would otherwise make land unusable for development.

The projects – which aim to support building strong communities – include a range of necessary works such as asbestos removal and bat alleviation, as well as schemes that will significantly improve quality of life such as essential relocating of a pelican crossing.

This move comes 2 weeks after the projects set to benefit from the first wave of funding from the £5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund were announced, helping to get up to 200,000 homes off the ground through investment in local housing projects. This is part of the government’s comprehensive strategy of planning reform and targeted investment to build 300,000 homes a year.

Housing and Planning Minister Dominic Raab said:

"We are investing £45 million to build roads and provide utilities, so councils can release the land to get up to 7,280 new homes built.

"It’s part of our strategy to build the homes Britain needs, and carry local communities with us.

"We’re determined to make buying or renting more affordable for young families and those on low or middle incomes."

Projects from Newcastle to Plymouth will receive funding from the Land Release Fund, which will enable:

• Poulton-Le-Fylde, Lancashire, to build new roads, roundabouts, and utility services, which will unlock up to 330 homes potentially built with Japanese modular housing techniques. The works will cost £1.7 million.

• Worcester to demolish a leisure centre and undergo asbestos decontamination works near its city centre, helping to unlock up to 50 homes. The project will cost £750,000.

• Paignton, Devon, to build a new 350m sewer, drainage upgrades and 2 new roads, which will help unlock up to 200 homes. The works will cost £1.9 million.

• Brighton, Sussex, to divert a public sewer and make electricity substation and highways improvements. The £335,000 project will help unlock up to 30 homes.

The Land Release Fund is being administered through a partnership with the Local Government Association and Cabinet Office’s One Public Estate (OPE) programme, which make the best use of council land and resources through practical advice and support.

OPE already works with over 70% of councils in England to transform local communities and services through large scale economic growth, delivering new jobs and new homes.

Further information

The Land Release Fund competitively assessed bids from local authorities on value for money, innovation, and the contribution to wider government housing objectives.

A total of 79 bids were successful in the assessment process, which will see £45 million being awarded to 41 authorities.

The fund was oversubscribed with more than £100 million received in funding requests for 143 projects.

The successful bids will release land for homes by March 2020.

In a funding announcement on 11 December 2017, One Public Estate gave councils - and their public sector partners - access to £8.7 million of funding, as well as practical support and expertise, to help them develop and deliver ambitious property programmes to benefit their communities.

OPE provides councils with funding and access to practical support and expertise to deliver property-based projects with wider public sector partners, including central government departments.

The joint initiative enables publicly-owned land and buildings to be used more efficiently and deliver real benefits to communities across the country, including new jobs and better services.