A new £3 million fund will be available to councils across the country to get work started on new housing sites

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis today (30 July 2014) launched a £3 million fund to speed up getting work started on as many as 85 new housing sites where development has been agreed.

The funding will be available to councils across the country to tackle planning issues that can cause delay and prevent builders getting on site and starting work quickly – helping accelerate as many as 25,000 new homes.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said:

“In 2010 we inherited a housing industry in paralysis – where neighbours and developers were at loggerheads, aspiring homeowners couldn’t get on the property ladder and housebuilding levels were at their lowest since the 1920s.

Since then we’ve got Britain building, not least through our planning reforms to put power in the hands of communities. Now, the challenge is to get work started on sites where development has been agreed as soon as possible.

Today’s £3 million fund will do just that, getting work started on as many as 85 sites, creating jobs as well as up to 25,000 new homes.”

Permission granted, getting work started
Since 2010 the government has radically reformed the planning system, making it simpler and quicker, with locally led plans identifying and allocating land for much needed homes.

As a result, planning permission was granted on 216,000 new homes in the last year alone, and housebuilding levels have reached their highest level since 2007.

Today’s £3 million fund will tackle issues that can slow things down, even when the principle of development has been agreed – like completing financial agreements and signing-off conditions attached to planning permissions.

Councils with the greatest numbers of large housing developments recently agreed will be given priority for the funding, as well as those who can show how they will make each pound go further by enabling faster starts on site.

Each council that successfully bids is expected to receive around £50,000 from the fund.

Latest figures from Glenigan estimate that the number of homes with planning permission “on hold or shelved” has steadily fallen thanks to government-led efforts to get work restarted on stalled sites – the numbers of homes on hold or shelves has fallen from 79,604 in January 2011 to 50,050 in June this year.

On top of this, measures in the Infrastructure Bill on planning conditions will further cut the time it takes for sites with planning permission to start on site, as well as a series of schemes to increase development finance to both small and large builders, to boost local authority capacity to unlocked stalled sites and to support ongoing housing starts.