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MoD and Network Rail unlock land for over 25,000 homes

Words: Laura Edgar

Defence secretary Michael Fallon has announced plans to release 13 sites to build up 17,000 homes while Network Rail has released enough land for up to 12,000 homes.

More than 1,200 hectares of surplus public sector land is being released across the UK, said the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The sites are expected to provide land for up to 17,000 homes. All of the money generated from land sales is to be invested back into meeting the needs of the armed forces, said the MoD.

Land released includes two golf courses at RAF Henlow and Southwick Park.

Fallon said: “We are getting rid of land that we don’t need to build homes that we do, generating hundreds of millions of pounds in the process. Our commitment to protect and increase the budget for our armed forces means that every penny of that will be reinvested into defence, helping to keep Britain safe.”

Network Rail said it had identified 200 sites across England as development opportunities to deliver around 12,000 homes by 2020.

A plan has been put in place to deliver land for 5,000 homes in London, 3,600 homes in Manchester and the North, 1,700 homes in the Midlands and the east of England and 1,400 homes in the south of England.

Earmarked projects include the former Exchange Station site in Manchester, said Network Rail. This will deliver land for 700 homes, and a scheme at Chesterton, near Cambridge, will deliver land for more than 800 homes.

David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property, said: “Unlocking railway land for redevelopment investing in stations and infrastructure, can and does transform large swathes of our towns and cities and boost local and regional economies.

“As we now ramp up our land release programme to deliver thousands more homes, we will be working closely with the Homes and Communities Agency, London Land Commission, local authorities and developers to bring identified sites forward to help meet the country’s housing needs.”

Network Rail plans to partner developers to release land on a site-by-site basis over the next three to four years. The land-release programme is central to Network Rail’s objectives to “help respond to nation’s housing shortage” and the company said it would continue to review its assets to see if any more sites can be released for housing.

Image credit | Chatham House