Government to directly commission thousands of affordable new homes

Posted 4 January 2016 by Keith Osborne

The Prime Minister starts the New Year with a major announcement to build thousands of much-needed new homes on publicly owned land...

The Prime Minister will today announce plans for the government to directly commission the building of up to 13,000 new homes on five sites, fast-tracking the construction of much-needed housing in London, the South East and East Anglia. He will also announce an additional £1.2bn fund to build 30,000 affordable homes on brownfield sites across the country over the next five years.

This is the first time that government has directly ordered the building of new homes since the Thatcher era. The initiative will mean smaller housebuilders getting more involved in the construction of new homes on publicly owned land, initially on five sites:

  • Connaught Barracks in Dover
  • Daedelus Waterfront in Gosport
  • Lower Graylingwell in Chichester
  • Northstowe in Cambridgeshire
  • Old Oak Common in north west London

The announcement comes as part of the government’s Starter Home Initiative, a commitment to building 200,000 new affordable homes for people under 40-years-old by 2020.

David Cameron says: “This government was elected to deliver security and opportunity - whatever stage of life you’re at. Nothing is more important to achieving that than ensuring hard-working people can buy affordable homes.

“Today’s package signals a huge shift in government policy. Nothing like this has been done on this scale in three decades – government rolling its sleeves up and directly getting homes built. Backed up with a further £1.2bn to get homes built on brownfield sites, it shows we will do everything we can to get Britain building and let more people have the security that comes with a home of their own.”

Communities secretary Greg Clark adds: “We’re pulling out all the stops to keep the country building with a clear ambition to deliver a million homes by 2020 and support hard-working people into homeownership.

“Today’s radical new approach will mean the government will directly commission small and up-and-coming companies to build thousands of new homes on sites right across the country.This, and the £1.2bn new starter homes fund, will help thousands of people to realise their dream of owning their own home.

“Currently, the top eight housebuilders 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, says: “When it comes to building new homes, the availability of small sites is the single biggest barrier to SME housebuilders increasing their output. Any measures that the government can introduce that will increase the number of small sites suitable for SME housebuilders will help address the housing shortfall.

“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 housebuilders increase their supply much more quickly.”

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