£30 million boost to help unlock land for new homes

Cabinet Office Minister Lord Agnew has announced that the government is boosting its Land Release Fund (LRF) and the One Public Estate (OPE) programme with an additional £30 million.

Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference, Lord Agnew sats that the funding will help release surplus land for housing and support local economies to bounce back from the pandemic.

The LRF, which targets small sites with a focus on supporting SME builders, will offer councils the opportunity to bid for £20 million for remediation works and infrastructure to bring their surplus sites forward for housing. It is currently supporting 73 council projects which are on track to release land for more than 6,000 homes by next March.

The OPE programme will provide £10 million, supporting the earliest stages of development. New and existing partnerships will be able to bid for practical support to deliver ambitious property programmes in collaboration with central government and other public sector partners, which deliver homes, jobs, efficiencies and improved public services.

Lord Agnew said: “By taking a fresh look at how we use buildings and release surplus public property and land, the One Public Estate programme has helped to create thousands of new homes and jobs and breathed new life into communities. As we look forward, across government and local authorities, we will continue this work to make sure we deliver the vital public services people need while providing value for money for taxpayers.”

James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “Councils continue to lead their communities through the coronavirus crisis, working closely with other local partners including health and emergency services.

“One Public Estate will play a crucial role as we move into the next phase and help with the local and national economic recovery. This additional funding will support councils to make better use of their assets, including their spare land and property, to help join up local services. This in turn will create new savings and efficiencies, as we look towards the future of local public services after the pandemic.”