Housing boost from railway land up for grabs

Government is urging local authorities to come forward to take advantage of a new scheme aimed at freeing up railway land for housing development. This latest move to boost housebuilding comes with an agreement signed between Network Rail and the Homes & Communities Agency to push forward with development of redundant land beside railway stations.

Councils in Swindon, Taunton and York are the first to come forward with proposals for housing and commercial regeneration around their railway stations, now government says it wants at least 20 more to come forward.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: "Railway stations are a hub of communities, connectivity and commerce and should be making the most of their unique potential to attract investment and opportunities. 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."

Proposals for development at York Central station could support up to 2500 new homes and around 100,000 square metres of office space worth an estimated £1.16bn to the local economy. Taunton's plans involve remodelling of the station and its car park to create a new 'gateway' to the town. Swindon is hoping housing development and a new leisure complex to the north of the station will help to energise ambitious plans for regeneration of its town centre.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "I’m pleased to see that exciting visions for regeneration at Swindon, Taunton and York are being developed, with the potential for hundreds of additional homes and new businesses. I look forward to seeing how Network Rail and the Homes and Communities Agency’s excellent work on these projects develop.