More Land Required for Housing
The Queen’s speech revealed that Communities Secretary, find Greg Clark, is advising Whitehall departments to let go of redundant land and property to allow new homes to be developed on sites that are currently surplus to council requirements.
Clark said departments should “loosen their grip” on sites that are standing idle to help reduce the shortfall of new homes across Britain.
Demand for new homes and for housing stock generally has been outstripping supply across most of the UK. The South East and London are particularly under-supplied, despite large development sites.
The new “local government transparency code” means councils have to publish their property and asset registers. Current disclosures of Government accounts show that in 2011 councils held £223bn of assets – of which £108bn was in land and buildings.
Greg Clark wants councils to release enough land for 150,000 homes by 2020 – equivalent to the number of homes in Wakefield.
There are 326 councils in England, and Clark is urging them to look at the “significant” land assets they hold. He wants them to use some of these plots, particularly those on brownfield sites, to provide new homes for their communities.
Clark said: “The chance to own your own home should be available to everyone who works hard and aspires to [be a homeowner]. That is what a government for working people is about – making sure people have the security they need to build a brighter future for them and their families.”
Bruce Marshall of Riley Marshall commented “We welcome any initiative that releases land for building in the Capital, we have noticed a high demand for property in South East and East London. Property investors and first time buyers are vying for all one and two bedroom properties that we take onto our books, and we always need new properties to sell”.
The Housing Bill which was announced in the Queen’s Speech, requires local authorities to establish and maintain a register of brownfield land suitable for housing development. This will include land owned by the councils themselves.
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