Government to directly commission building of homes

In a radical new policy shift, the Government is to start directly commissioning the building of homes on publicly owned land.

The first wave of up to 13,000 will start on four sites outside of London in 2016 and up to 40% of these will be affordable ‘starter’ homes. This approach will also be used at the Old Oak Common site in north west London.

The Government is also today announcing a £1.2bn starter home fund to prepare brownfield sites for new homes. This will fast-track the creation of at least 30,000 new starter homes and up to 30,000 market homes on 500 new sites by 2020 – helping deliver the commitment to create 200,000 starter homes over the next five years.

The new investment will help 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.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “We’re pulling out all the stops to keep the country building with a clear ambition to deliver a million homes by 2020 and support hard working people into home ownership.

Today’s radical new approach will mean the government will directly commission small and up-and-coming companies to build thousands of new homes on sites right across the country.

This, and the £1.2bn new starter homes fund, will help thousands of people to realise their dream of owning their own home.”

Currently the top eight house builders provide 50% of new homes. The direct commissioning approach is aimed at supporting smaller builders and new entrants who are ready to build but lack the resources and access to land.

The pilot for direct commissioning on publicly owned land will start in five sites:

  • Connaught Barracks in Dover
  • Northstowe in Cambridgeshire
  • Lower Graylingwell in Chichester
  • Daedelus on Waterfront in Gosport
  • Old Oak Common in north west London

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “When it comes to building new homes, the availability of small sites is the single biggest barrier to SME house builders increasing their output.

Any measures that the government can introduce that will increase the number of small sites suitable for SME housebuilders will help address the housing shortfall.

It is also encouraging that the majority of these sites will already have planning permission in place as obtaining permission is all-too-often a lengthy and protracted process – avoiding this time delay should help house builders increase their supply much more quickly.”