More than £900m spent on contracted brownfield housing schemes

Housing minister Kit Malthouse says 74% of total spend from the Home Building Fund Long Term Fund will lead to 70,062 housing units.

As at the end of March 2019, £909m million of the Home Building Fund Long Term Fund had been spent on contracted schemes which will lead to 70,062 housing units.

That’s 74% of total spend and 61% of unlocked units.

The stats are confirmed by housing minister Kit Malthouse in a written response to a Commons question.

Tory Jack Brereton asked how much funding the Government has allocated from the public purse to help increase the viability of new housing development on brownfield sites in areas with lower market values.

“Other funds will also help to bring forward new housing on brownfield sites, specifically referencing the £450 million Accelerated Construction programme and £5.5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund.

“While it is for local authorities to plan and bring forward suitable land, our funding programmes, delivered through Homes England, are also supporting brownfield land being brought forward,” said Malthouse.

“As at the end of March 2019, £909m of the Home Building Fund Long Term Fund (74% of total spend) had been spent on contracted schemes which will lead to 70,062 housing units (61% of unlocked units) being developed on brownfield land,” he said.

Whilst this funding is available to all areas of the country, Malthouse stressed all applications undergo an assessment of their value for money for the taxpayer.

In March, CPRE analysis of councils’ Brownfield Land Registers highlighted space’ to accommodate more than one million new homes, two-thirds of which were ‘shovel ready’ and could make an immediate contribution to meeting housing need, as they have been confirmed as being deliverable within five years.

Prioritising this land also provides a steady pipeline of housing, as more than 120,000 of the potential new homes have been added to the registers in the past year alone, CPRE said.

As such, CPRE urged government to introduce a genuine ‘brownfield first’ policy, which ensures that suitable previously developed or under-used land is prioritised for redevelopment over green spaces and countryside.

Yesterday (May 7), Malthouse said the government will use the forthcoming Environment Bill to mandate biodiversity net gain for housing development in England.

While some developers have already been following a biodiversity net gain approach voluntarily, the proposed standardised, mandatory approach is pitched as offering clarity and certainty on how to improve the environment through development, while also considering whether any sites – such as small and brownfield sites – should be exempt from the rules.

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