Communities Secretary Greg Clark has this week urged the government to let go of surplus and redundant land for property and new homes, writes Development Specialist Richard Carr.
Hit the 150,000 target
Mr Clark would like Whitehall departments to “loosen their grip” on sites across the UK which are standing unused, to allow them to be used for new housebuilding. He is keen to release enough land to hit the 150,000 target by 2020.
Furthermore, he is urging local councils to use some of the plots that they own, especially brownfield sites, to provide new homes in their communities. This is a strategy that Richard Carr of Fortitudo Property believes is key if the government are to meet their new homes target. He also believes it’s a fantastic way of revitalising communities without using green belt land.
Councils are significant landowners
In the official government press release, Clark spoke of his desire to give anyone the chance to own a home who works hard and aspires to.
“The scale of our ambition is clear – to release enough surplus and redundant public sector land for 150,000 homes over the next 5 years.
“I want to see departments going further and faster than before, starting right away, to loosen their grip on sites that are standing idle and to turn them over for house building.
“Councils are significant landowners and town halls should be looking at their estate, particularly brownfield sites, and thinking about how they could make better use of their holdings by releasing land for new homes for their communities.”
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis added: “Housebuilding is at an 8-year high, with construction starts up 5% over the last year alone – we must maintain this momentum.
“A key way we’re doing that is by looking again at the land government departments own, with enough land released over the last Parliament for 103,000 homes.”
Richard Carr believes that the central Government should insist on a nationwide audit of all local authorities land holdings and assets, this would include assets such as the ‘Trust Port of Poole’.
This would then force the sale of such assets, raising huge sums of money for central Government and release land for building.