£2 Billion For Homes On Brownfield Land

A brownfield site

Nearly £2 billion of public money needed to remediate 1,070 hectares of derelict or unused land to help build more new homes has been allocated in Rishi Sunak's spending review.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) said more land would be needed to create employment space and amenities for the 160,000 homes the government hopes would be created. Although the government has pledged to invest £9 million towards 100 urban ‘pocket parks' across the UK.


 “Embodied carbon is just one element to understand, for example, there is a need to consider whether we can retrofit cheaper energy solutions, such as district heating, as well as retain a building; sometimes it is not possible to do both.”

– Rico Wojtulewicz 

Head of housing and planning policy, National Federation of Builders


Sticking plaster solution

The NFB's Wojtulewicz also described the investment proposal as a sticking plaster solution. The proposed funding was expected to be announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak's spending review on Wednesday 27 October as part of the government's efforts to reach net-zero by 2050.

The FMB said nearly two-thirds of smaller developers quoted lack of available and viable land as a major constraint for building new homes. Chief executive, Brian Berry, said: "It's important that more small sites are unlocked in all communities as local builders often deliver fewer than 10 homes at a time."


QR codes to open up planning

Rishi Sunak was expected to confirm £65 million towards the digitisation of 175 local council's planning systems. The government has already announced the names of 13 planning authorities who had won funding for piloting digitisation.

The government hopes this will make the planning process more accessible to a wider cross-section of people who can scan QR codes to see 3-D interactive maps. Cambridge has won £100,000 to use technology to capture views on a scheme appearing in news articles, social media feeds and blog posts.

Mr Wojtulewicz said: "Digital planning will illuminate the vast numbers of development opportunities within communities, such as on infill and small sites. A coherent land allocation strategy is the only way we can start solving the housing crisis."

The FMB said it was pleased its calls for more investment in the planning system had been answered. "Digitisation must make the system simpler and faster, and free up planners' time to support the smallest firms navigate the often-complicated planning process," said Brian Berry.

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said a quicker planning system was something both development finance lenders and SME builders were keen to see.

Picture: £2 billion of tax payers' money will be used on 1,070 hectares of derelict or unused land to help build more new homes.

Article written by Cathryn Ellis
27th October 2021


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