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Editor: Shaun Callacher
The UK government has announced a £3 billion package of measures to speed up house building, by making it easier for small builders to access finance and putting essential infrastructure in place.
The new Home Building Fund, which is already open for applications, will help to build more than 25,000 new homes by the end of this parliament and up to 200,000 in the longer term, according to communities secretary Sajid Javid. It comes ahead of a planned Housing White Paper, which will be published later this year and set out the government's plans to deliver a million new homes by 2020, Javid said.
The Home Building Fund will be open to private sector organisations for developments with at least five homes, or infrastructure projects that "must ultimately lead to the development of new housing".
At the point at which the loan offer is made, the developer will usually be expected to have a controlling interest in the land and a "clear route" to achieving planning consent for the planned project, according to notes published by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which is managing the fund.
The Home Building Fund is the first of three announcements made by Sajid Javid and the chancellor, Philip Hammond, at the Conservative Party Conference. It will provide £1bn of short term loan funding to small builders, custom builders and innovative builders, and incorporate the existing Builders Finance and Build to Rent funds. It will also provide £2bn of longer-term funding for infrastructure projects, with an emphasis on developments on brownfield land.
The government is also borrowing £2bn to fund an 'Accelerated Construction' project, through which the government will team up with smaller and innovative developers to explore different models for building on surplus public land. This commitment builds on the existing public sector land release programme, and will allow for construction to begin on 15,000 new homes by 2020, according to Javid.
Finally, changes to the planning system will be brought forward to "encourage urban regeneration" and "radically increase brownfield development", according to Javid. In particular, his speech mentioned more housing around stations and the conversion of abandoned shopping centres into new homes.
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