Homes England, the government housing agency, has agreed funding deals with six local authorities worth £38.2m in order to accelerate the construction of more than 2,000 much-needed homes across England.
Although the government is committed to further safeguarding tenants’ rights with the recent announcement of plans to revoke Section 21, legislation that allows landlords to serve tenants with ‘no-fault’ eviction notices, the housing crisis shows no sign of being solved any time soon.
In fact, housing charity Shelter UK has said it is no longer correct to speak of a housing crisis in the UK, as in their opinion the country has a national emergency.
Certainly, the stats present a pretty damning indictment of governmental failure to get to grips with the housing crisis. 1.2 million people across the UK are currently on the waiting list for social housing but just 6,463 social homes were built from 2017 to 2018. What’s more, around 5,000 people sleep rough every night in England, according to charity Homeless Link.
If you’re under 40, you’re half as likely to own a home as your parents were at your age. So one in three millenials will most probably never own a home. And since 2011, rents are reputed to have increased faster than wages. Understandably, a lack of affordable housing is among the top 10 concerns of young people in the UK.
Empty and second homes also contribute to the problem with an estimated 200,000 left dormant for over six months in the UK.
Funds for local authorities
As an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, England Homes‘s prime function is to speed up housebuilding. They are proud of having the expertise and resources to hit the ground running.
The agency will spearhead plans to build the new homes England desperately needs and help improve neighbourhoods by releasing more land to developers.
The deals are the latest to have been awarded through the government’s £350m Local Authority Accelerated Construction (LAAC) programme, which was launched to help free up public land and bring the completion of local authority housing schemes up to speed.
Successful local authorities will use the funding to invest in infrastructure and prepare 14 sites across the country for the development of new homes. The authorities have been encouraged to use modern methods of construction (MMC) and to employ local SMEs on their sites.
The proposed work will chime with the government’s commitment to invest in infrastructure and will help to establish the habit of employing smaller building outfits to develop publicly owned land.
Sites across England to benefit
Land at Locking Parklands, Weston-super-Mare, is set to benefit from LAAC funding when North Somerset Council receives more than £9.8m in funds to invest in infrastructure. The money will be used to create 425 new homes, of which a minimum of 30% will be affordable.
Initially, the funds will enable six local authorities in North Somerset to plan building programmes. Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Councils also stand to benefit as will those of Bristol, Hastings, Hull, Cheshire West and Chester.
A site in Winsford, Cheshire, will take advantage of over £4.5m funding to bring forward the construction of 310 homes.
Stephen Kinsella, chief land and development officer at Homes England, has said that the funding will enable local authorities to prepare sites in advance of development and so expedite the building of new housing. The homes will be built using modern methods of construction for high insulation values and low energy use.
Homes England’s website features useful information about their funding programmes and the Homes England Land Hub section lists the sites available for development or disposal by the agency.