For the first time in 30 years the government has announced a plan to directly commission thousands of new homes.

We explore who, where, when and why this is happening…

Who will build?

The Government plans to secure planning permission on publicly owned land before directly commissioning developers and contractors to build new homes.

With access to land being one of the main hurdles for smaller developers, this is seen as a way of tapping into the potential of the nation’s SME house builders to speed up the supply of housing.

What will be built?

Initially this scheme will include 13,000 homes outside of London and thousands more within London.

Starter Homes will make up 40% of the developments, forming part of the 200,000 starter homes already targeted by the government.

Where will they be built?

Four old military and railway sites have been identified outside of London at;

  1. Connaught Barracks, Dover
  2. Northstowe, Cambridgeshire
  3. Lower Graylingwell, Chichester
  4. Daedelus on Waterfront, Gosport

The scheme will also include sites in London such as Old Oak Common in North West London.

When will this happen?

Work on the identified sites is planned to start this year.

Why is the government getting directly involved?

Some argue that the government have decided to take action themselves after growing frustrated with large house builders not building enough homes. By providing land with planning permission it will help to speed up the process and provide an opportunity for smaller house builders.

As such the scheme has been welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). However they have highlighted the importance of breaking the land into “small and micro parcels wherever possible” because according to the Chief Executive of the FMB “the smaller the site, the quicker it will get built out”. Read the full article here.

Whilst this has been hailed as a, “radical new policy shift”, it has not been without criticism. The Shadow Housing Minister, John Healey highlights that, “today’s statement promises no new starter homes beyond those already announced” and the numbers being discussed are a, “drop in the ocean” compared with the numbers needed.

For more information on opportunities for SME builders check out our blog Government initiatives that will provide a helping hand to smaller builders.

By Craig Ross