The government has announced that it is to directly commission thousands of new homes, to be built by smaller housebuilders.
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to “fast-track building of affordable homes on publicly owned land” and to give SME housebuilders the chance to build them.
This direct commissioning approach is similar to the Docklands regeneration programme in the 1980s. Through this initiative the government hopes that quality new homes will be built at a faster rate with smaller housebuilders given the opportunity to build on government sites where planning permission is already in place.
The first wave of up to 13,000 new homes will start on four sites outside of London in 2016. Up to 40% of these new homes will be affordable ‘starter’ homes. This approach will also be used in at the Old Oak Common site in North-west London.
The government has also announced a £1.2bn fund to build 30,000 affordable ‘starter homes’ on underused brownfield land in the next 5 years. The intention is to fast-track the creation of at least 30,000 new starter homes and up to 30,000 market homes on 500 new sites by 2020.
The policy is aimed at helping deliver the government’s commitment to create 200,000 starter homes over the next five years.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “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 £1.2 billion 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 said: “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 home ownership. 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.”
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “When it comes to building new homes, the availability of small sites is the single biggest barrier to SME house builders increasing their output. Any measures that the government can introduce that will increase the number of small sites suitable for SME house builders will help address the housing shortfall.”
The pilot for direct commissioning on publicly owned land will start in five sites:
- Connaught Barracks in Dover
- Northstowe in Cambridgeshire
- Lower Graylingwell in Chichester
- Daedelus on Waterfront in Gosport
- Old Oak Common in North-west London