Government allocates £866m for 133 council-led housing projects

Up to 200,000 new homes could be unlocked after the government announced that 133 council-led projects across the country will receive £866m for new developments.

In a joint announcement by housing secretary Sajid Javid and chancellor Philip Hammond, the funding boost has been made in a bid to get housing projects built much quicker. The first wave of funding from the £5bn Housing Infrastructure Fund is part of a comprehensive programme to fix the broken housing market by financing new roads, cycle paths, flood defences and land remediation work ahead of building the homes.

Commenting on the funding, Hammond, said: “Today marks the first step of the multi-billion pound investment we announced at the Budget to help build the homes our country needs. This fund finances vital infrastructure such as roads, schools and bridges, which will kick-start housing development in some of Britain’s highest-demand areas.”

Projects from County Durham to Cornwall where funding will go:

  • £10m for highway infrastructure to unlock further development at the Ashton Green housing site in Leicester, helping to unlock 3,300 homes;
  • £10m for construction of a bypass in Botley, Hampshire, a critical strategic road infrastructure project that will help unlock the delivery of 1,000 new homes;
  • £3.6m for drainage works, new roads and footpaths at the Manor Cluster, south-east Sheffield to help unlock more than 400 homes by 2025;
  • £6.5m to help build a new primary school as part of the Ilfracombe Southern Extension in North Devon. This will help unlock 750 new homes;

After Theresa May emphasised housebuilding as a priority for her time in power, the injection of cash is seen as necessary if the government is to achieve its target of building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s. 

“Our priority is building the homes this country desperately needs,” Javid added. “This first wave of investment totalling £866 million will help get up to 200,000 homes off the ground, making a huge difference to communities across the country. This is just one of the many ways this government is taking action to get Britain building homes again.”

While the announcement has been largely welcomed, one representative body has called on the government for an urgent need to bring schemes forward to market to bolster economic growth. Director of external affairs for the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), Marie-Claude Hemming said: “This programme of investment in local infrastructure is good news, and will both facilitate housebuilding and drive economic growth. We call on local authorities across England to take every step at their disposal to bring these schemes forward to market. There is an urgent need to bolster economic growth, and to deliver the infrastructure communities and businesses rely upon up and down the country. To do this, we need to get spades in the ground without delay.”

The government will be progressing Forward Funding projects to go through to co-development in the coming weeks, with final funding announced from autumn 2018. Today’s announcement forms part of the government’s Industrial Strategy which sets out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK.

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