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News in Brief: Scottish minister announces fund to speed up housing construction; Local leaders unite to support Crossrail 2

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 1 March, 2016

New home permissions highest since 2008 – report

Planning permission for 59,875 homes was granted in England during the third quarter of last year – an increase from 53,409 permissions in the same period of 2014.

The report, New Housing Pipeline: Q3 2015 report, by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and construction market analyst Glenigan, suggests that 242,819 permissions were granted in the 12 months to October 2015, the highest since 2008.

However, the HBF and Glenigan said many of the homes identified in the report still have a “significant part of the planning system to navigate before any construction work can start”, which could take two or three years.

According to the figures, 181,000 new homes were built in 2014/15, which “broadly equates to” the volume of planning permission recorded two to three years ago. But the industry remains concerned that the time lag between turning permissions into homes is getting longer.

More on this report can be found here. 

Boost for rural housing in Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced a £25 million fund to provide around 500 new affordable homes in rural areas across Scotland.

The Rural Housing Fund aims to increase the supply of long-term affordable housing in rural areas over the next three years, says the Scottish Government. It will assist the building and refurbishment of existing buildings.

The homes will contribute to the government’s commitment to build 50,000 homes across the country over the next five years.

The fund will be available to a variety of applicants, including long-established affordable housing providers as well as community-led organisations and private landowners. It will also offer feasibility support to enable organisations to develop “robust plans” for their projects.

More on this fund can be found here. 

Scottish Minister announces fund to speed up housing construction

A new £50 million infrastructure fund aimed at speeding up the construction of thousands of new affordable and private homes has been announced by Scottish social justice minister Alex Neil.

The Scottish Government said the “flexible grant and loan fund” will help unlock strategic housing sites of importance to local authorities to increase the scale of housing delivery.

The fund is part of a package of measures aimed at supporting the increase in supply of homes of all tenures, including a five-year commitment to delivering at 50,000 affordable homes.

Land sold to developer for homes in Rugby

Strategic land agency Richborough Estates has sold an 11-acre greenfield site in Rugby to the house builder Bovis Homes.

Richborough worked with the landowner to take the site through the planning and sales process.

The deal will see the creation of 96 “high-quality” homes, 40 per cent of which will be affordable.

Additionally, over three acres of public open space has been allocated as well as s.106 financial contributions for improvements to the local school and sport pitches.

Local leaders unite to support Crossrail 2

Local government leaders from across London, the South-East and east of England have called on the government to explore new financial freedoms for councils in these regions to help ensure that work on Crossrail 2 starts by 2020.

Writing to Lord Adonis, chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, the leaders said they are ready and willing to work with the commission and government to secure:

  • A central government commitment to Crossrail 2 and adequate Parliamentary time to ensure construction commences in 2020;

  • A commitment from central government and Transport for London to continued working with the organisations to ensure the maximum benefits from Crossrail 2; and

  • A central government commitment to contribute towards the funding of Crossrail 2, as well as examining further the use of stamp duty receipts.

Claire Kober, London Councils’ executive member for infrastructure and regeneration, said: “London has always committed to contribute financially to Crossrail 2 as it has done with Crossrail. Local authorities outside London are also willing to explore how their areas could contribute, in return for greater flexibility and financial freedoms which will allow them to raise the necessary funds.”

LifeCare Residences acquires site in West Hampstead

LifeCare Residences has announced the acquisition of a three-acre site in Gondar Gardens, West Hampstead.

The site, which was owned by Linden Wates, comes with existing planning approval for a 28-unit residential scheme on the site of a decommissioned water reservoir.

LifeCare Residences is an international retirement village operator and aims to use the site to cater for the demand for retirement dwellings.

Richard Davis, CEO, LifeCare Residences, said: “We are actively seeking additional sites to help fulfil the increasing demand for luxury retirement developments in and around London.”

Wates is a construction services company. Linden Homes is a house builder. This is a joint venture.

£63m investment secured for Dundee Waterfront

Scottish deputy first minister John Swinnett has agreed a Growth Accelerator (GA) model with Dundee City Council that will see the Scottish Government invest £63.8 million into the city’s waterfront.

The GA model, developed by the Scottish Futures Trust, is designed to stimulate growth, create jobs and support businesses through a combination of public and private sector investment in local infrastructure and public spaces.

Funding is linked to the delivery of agreed outcomes. It will be targeted towards to improvements at the new Dundee railway station concourse, development of the V&A, and infrastructure.

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