Pressure on government departments to release surplus land for housing development is working, according to Housing Minister Kris Hopkins, who said that over 430 sites have been sold with the capacity to build 68,000 new homes.
Hopkins called on local authorities to follow central government’s lead and identify their own unused land to maintain the programme’s momentum.
The Minister’s statement was made to coincide with the release this week of the latest DCLG quarterly housing statistics showing that starts on new homes in 2013 totalled 122,590, up by 23% on the previous year and the highest figure since 2007.
Hopkins said the data also demonstrates that the government is on track to meet its target of releasing enough land for 100,000 homes by 2015.
Two new initiatives were launched last month to encourage local communities to call for the release of potential development sites: the Right to Contest allows the public to challenge central government departments about land and property they feel could be put to better use, and to ask for it to be sold; the Right to Reclaim Land allows similar challenges against local authorities.
The government has said it plans to launch a ‘Rightmove-style’ search engine shortly that will detail all government-owned property.
Posted on Thursday 27th February 2014