Government releases land for thousands of new homes

August 1, 2017 / Isla MacFarlane
Government releases land for thousands of new homes

The government has launched a £54 million package to transform local communities and release land for thousands of new homes.

The package comes as part of a new cross-government partnership to make smarter use of government-owned property.

DCLG’s £45 million ‘Land Release Fund’, launched in partnership with the Cabinet Office and Local Government Association’s One Public Estate programme, aims to ensure local councils release some of their unused or surplus land for housing. This will help to meet the ambition to unlock enough council-owned land for at least 160,000 homes by 2020.

Councils can now bid for funding for land remediation and small-scale infrastructure, which will help bring sites forward for housing that would not have otherwise been developed.

Alongside this, One Public Estate is making £9 million funding available to support more councils to deliver ambitious property-focused programmes

The programme channels funding and support through councils to deliver ambitious property-based projects. By 2020, councils on the programme are expected to deliver £615 million in capital receipts, £158 million running costs savings, create 44,000 new jobs and release land for 25,000 new homes.

This partnership between DCLG and One Public Estate aims to give local authorities greater access to support from across government and help them to release more land, more efficiently.

Minister for Government Resilience and Efficiency, Caroline Nokes, said, “One Public Estate is enabling local authorities to make better use of their land and property and deliver tangible benefits to their communities. I am delighted that this new funding round will enable even more councils to deliver the homes, jobs and services that local people need.”

Housing and Planning Minister, Alok Sharma, said, “To build the homes this country needs, we need to increase the supply of land available to build more homes, more quickly.

As a major landowner, local authorities have a crucial role to play in this task.

Through this innovative cross-government partnership, we will be able to work with councils much more effectively, helping them to meet local housing needs and transform local areas.”

LGA Chairman, Lord Porter, said, “Through One Public Estate councils have shown that they are perfectly positioned to act as leaders of place and deliver effective cross public sector asset management. It is great to see in practice how the programme is delivering more integrated services, local economic growth, and supporting more sustainable local government.

“Councils are committed to building the new homes their communities need and I’m pleased to see the announcement of the Local Authority Land Release Fund as part of this next funding round. It’s great to see two government programmes aligning to offer a more coherent programme to our local communities.”

Government has announced the launch of the £45 million Land Release Fund to help local authorities “release some of their unused or surplus land for housing”.

The Land Release Fund is the result of a partnership between the Cabinet Office and the One Public Estate (OPE) programme. Managed by the Local Government Association (LGA), it takes the total amount of available funding up to £54 million.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) expects this funding to release enough public land to build 160,000 new homes by 2020.


According to the the House Builders Association (HBA), the most productive solution to the housing crisis lies in enabling small and medium-sized (SME) developers to build more homes in their local communities.

Rico Wojtulewicz, policy advisor for the HBA, said, “While the announcement of extra money to unlock land for new homes is certainly welcome, we must ensure that it ends up enabling SME housebuilders to do their job. SMEs unlock supply more quickly, drive a competitive local market and win work on reputation. They also employ and train the majority of construction employees, retaining two out of three of them. We cannot waste those intrinsic values for another decade.”

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