Government reboots affordable housing drive

Aaron Morby 10 years ago
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The Government has today set out a raft of fresh measures to boost affordable housing delivery including plans for a new garden town in Bicester.

Its latest push on housing ahead of the election came alongside a plan for Government to commission directly new housing in a pilot scheme at a former Cambridge RAF base to speed up delivery.

The new package of measures, launched with the National Infrastructure Plan, will see support for construction of up to 13,000 homes at Bicester, the second of three new garden cities.

Earlier this year it announced plans to pump £200m into construction of 15,000 new homes on a brownfield site at Ebbsfleet in Kent.

Today it also granted funding approval from the £150m estate regeneration programme for four major London rehousing schemes.

Subject to due diligence and contract negotiations,  8,000 homes will be built at Grahame Park, Blackwall Reach, Aylesbury Estate and New Union Wharf.

The government also pledged to extend the capital settlement for affordable housing by £957m in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to ensure that 275,000 new homes can be delivered over the next Parliament.

The Treasury said it was also committing to release public sector land for up to 150,000 homes over the next Parliament.

One of the key proposals is for the government to masterplan, directly commission, build and even sell homes.

A pilot programme at the former RAF base in Northstowe will see the Homes and Communities Agency leading development of 10,000 homes, twice as fast as conventional approaches.

This is the first time in a generation that the government has owned land, led a development on it at this scale, and considered commissioning homes directly for sale. This approach will fast-track the development by providing certainty making new homes available more quickly.

The Treasury has also agreed to consult on ways to increase the borrowing capacity of housing associations in relation to the valuation of properties transferred from local authorities.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said: “New houses support economic growth and are a crucial element of a fair society, so I’ve prioritised the investment of almost £2bn to ensure we can build on average 55,000 new homes a year until 2020.

“Combined with the other measures we are announcing today, we will vastly increase supply by providing funding certainty, unlocking capacity in housing associations and kick starting stalled regeneration projects.”

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