Land owners around train stations in the UK could be about to benefit from a massive development programme which the government hopes will deliver thousands of new homes, writes property developer Richard Carr.
The government are aiming to build around 10,000 homes around rail stations and already three local authorities have come forward with ambitious proposals to revitalise town centres.
York, Taunton and Swindon councils have already drawn up proposals in a bid to spearhead the new initiative and have picked railway sites which they believe could be pooled to deliver housing. In total, the government wants to hear from at least 20 local authorities to take the scheme forward.
Developments of this type have already proven successful following the transformations of Birmingham New Street, Manchester Victoria and London Kings Cross. The government is committed to bringing together high calibre technical expertise and local knowledge to increase development opportunities.
“We’re determined to fire up communities and back local business so they build much needed housing and create thousands of jobs. Rail stations are a hub of communities, connectivity and commerce and should be making the most of their unique potential to attract investment and opportunities,” said Communities Secretary Greg Clark.
“With record numbers of people travelling by train, it makes sense to bring people closer to stations and develop sites that have space for thousands of new homes and offices. This new initiative will bring about a step change in development and ensure we go further and faster in putting these rail sites to good use,” he added.
The response to the government’s proposals have been positive with many seeing the project as an opportunity to bring stations back into the forefront of communities and make them the thriving hubs that they once were.
“By using land around stations as the catalyst for regeneration, not only will we see much-needed new homes and businesses in the area, but we’ll also see a wider regeneration of our town centres,” said Stephen Barter of KPMG.
“With York, Swindon and Taunton leading the way, it must be hoped that other local areas will swiftly come forward. Ongoing Government support, in its various forms, alongside local commitment, will provide a much needed catalyst to create the thriving, mixed use communities that will deliver a boost to these towns and to the UK economy,” he added.