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New £1bn funding package for housing launched

Published: Thursday, 5th May 2016

New Communities Partnership unveiled, while new report finds that 6 per cent of land in England and Wales is in public ownership…

A £1bn housing delivery fund, the ‘New Communities Partnership’, has been launched to help the public sector build 10,000 new homes across the UK over the next 4 to 5 years.

This initiative brings together Kier Living, The Cheyne Social Property Impact Fund (managed by UK-based investment manager Cheyne Capital) and The Housing Growth Partnership (a joint venture between the Homes and Communities Agency and Lloyds Banking Group).

The partnership will provide local authorities and housing associations with an innovative delivery model for building new homes on their own land, giving them the option to choose between sale and/or rental developments, and offers significant scope for affordable development.

Public sector organisations will be able to determine the appropriate mix of tenure for their site, including rental homes and homes for sale, in a model designed to meet the needs of their specific communities, without the need for grant funding.

It will also provide public sector clients with potential scope to derive a revenue income from their land in a socially responsible way that will offer sustainable, economic benefits for communities.

The partnership will offer a differentiated model that will increase significantly the amount of affordable homes built, with scope for up to 50 per cent of each site to offer affordable development opportunities.

Meanwhile, according to a new report commissioned by Telereal Trillium and carried out by Savills, newly released Land Registry data suggests that at least 900,000 hectares - 6 per cent of all land - in England and Wales is in public ownership. This is significantly more than previously estimated.

They pointed out that while previous accounts of public sector land holdings have focused on the 2 per cent of land owned by central government, the actual figure is closer to 6 per cent of all freehold land in England and Wales, two-thirds of which is owned by local government.

Within urban local authorities some 15 per cent of all freehold land is in public ownership, according to this analysis. In the case of eight local authorities – Brighton & Hove, Barking & Dagenham, Eastbourne, Rushmoor (Aldershot and Farnborough), Gosport, Leicester, Portsmouth and Stevenage – it rises to over 40 per cent. In London, the figure is around 25 per cent, rising to more than one third in some boroughs.

Access the full report 'Delivering New Homes on Surplus Public Sector Land, Accelerating Delivery'.

Roger Milne