‘Right to Regenerate’ to help transform derelict buildings

New Right to Regenerate plans will enable the public to require councils and public sector to sell unused land and assets for new homes, businesses or community spaces.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said that the proposals will make it easier to challenge councils and other public organisations to release land for redevelopment – helping communities make better use of public land and give a new lease of life to unloved buildings.

It means that underused public land could be sold to individuals or communities by default, unless there is a compelling reason the owner should hold onto it. As such, public bodies would need to have clear plans for land in the near future, even if only a temporary use before later development – if the land is kept for too long without being used, they would be required to sell it.

The latest figures show there were over 25,000 vacant council owned homes and according to recent FOI data over 100,000 empty council-owned garages last year.

Jenrick said: “Right to Regenerate is the simple way to turn public land into public good, with land sold by default, unless there is a very compelling reason not to do so. We are cutting through red tape so that communities can make better use of available land and derelict buildings, which means more new homes, businesses and community assets. Millions of people will now be able to buy that empty property, unused garage or parcel of land and turn it into something good for them and their community.”

Tom Chance, chief executive of the National Community Land Trust Network, said: “We welcome these plans that could help communities to turn abandoned and neglected land and buildings into fantastic community assets.

“There are hundreds of community land trusts across the country wanting to build much needed affordable housing, but getting hold of land at an affordable price is a huge barrier. The potential for communities to be given first right of refusal could be a game-changer. We encourage everyone to read through the proposals and respond to the consultation.”