Government to directly commission new house builds

David CameronThe Prime Minister has announced that the Government has committed to directly commissioning thousands of new homes built on publicly owned land.

The news comes following the Government’s 2015 Spending Review announcements and seeks to kick-start its pledge to build the much-needed 200,000 new starter homes over the next five years.
Beginning with up to 13,000 homes being built on brownfield sites outside of London in 2016, the pilot for direct commissioning on publicly owned land will begin at five sites across the country: Connaught Barracks in Dover; Northstowe in Cambridgeshire; Lower Graylingwell in Chichester; Daedelus on Waterfront in Gosport; Old Oak Common in north west London.

Currently the top eight house-builders provide 50% of new homes, however this direct commissioning approach will enable smaller building firms to begin building on Government sites where planning permission is already in place.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The availability of small sites is the greatest barrier that SME house-builders currently face when delivering new homes, which is why the Government’s initiative to make public land available to small builders is so welcome.

“The Government clearly recognises that we need to bring more small house-builders back into the market if we have any hope of addressing the housing shortfall. Directly funding developments on publicly owned land, with planning permission already granted, should encourage growth of smaller builders and new entrants into the market.”

Further to this, a starter home fund of £1.2bn has been launched to prepare brownfield sites for the fast-track building of affordable homes. The fund will see the creation of at least 30,000 new starter homes and up to 30,000 market homes on 500 new sites by 2020.

The Government says the new investment will kick-start regeneration and secure planning permission in urban areas; renovating disused or under-occupied urban sites so builders can get to work without any delays.

Commenting on the announcements, Prime Minister, David Cameron said: “Today’s package signals a huge shift in Government policy. Nothing like this has been done on this scale in three decades – Government rolling its sleeves up and directly getting homes built.

“Backed up with a further £1.2 billion to get homes built on brownfield sites, it shows we will do everything we can to get Britain building and let more people have the security that comes with a home of their own.”