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Capacity fund announced by Barwell

Words: Laura Edgar
Housebuilding / iStock

Housing minister Gavin Barwell has announced a new £18 million fund aimed at speeding up house building on large sites.

He said this would provide “thousands of new homes” where people want to live.

Councils can now bid for a share of the “capacity fund”, which intends to tackle planning issues that can cause delay and stop builders getting on site and starting work quickly.

The money aims to help accelerate delivery of up to 800,000 homes and infrastructure across large sites in England. It would primarily be aimed at large sites of 1,500 units or more.

Barwell also announced further measures to increase the number of “much-needed” homes in local areas, including creating six new Housing Zones to support development on brownfield land to deliver 10,000 homes.

The new Housing Zones are:

• Sheffield Housing Zone, South Yorkshire

• North East Lincolnshire Urban Housing Zone, with sites in Grimsby and Cleethorpes

• Hoyland-Wobwell Strategic Housing Zone, Barnsley, South Yorkshire

• Sandwell Housing Zone, Sandwell, West Midlands

• Pennine-Lancashire Housing Zone, with sites in Blackburn and Burnley

• Wirral Water Housing Zone, Merseyside

Another measure would see the government provide support and funding for a new locally led garden town at Otterpool Park in Shepway, Kent. This is expected to deliver up to 12,000 homes.

Barwell said: “We want to turbo-charge house building on large sites to get the homes built in the places people want to live, so that this country works for everyone, not just the privileged few.

“These sites offer enormous potential to transform brownfield land into new homes and our £18 million funding will help get them built much sooner.”

Last week, The Planner reported on research from Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners suggesting that schemes comprising over 2,000 homes take twice as long – just over six years – to secure planning permission. In comparison, it takes less than two-and-a-half years for schemes with less than 500 homes.

According to the government, capacity funding offers crucial investment to stop large-scale, long-term developments stalling, providing local authorities with the capacity to take projects forward and obtain additional resources and expertise.

Developers will be able to apply for funding from the £3 billion Home Building Fund, first announced at the Conservative Party Conference in October.

Image credit | iStock