Prime Minister David Cameron announced recently that the UK Government will be stepping in to directly commission new homes to be built on public land. The plan is to build up to 13,000 new homes with around 40% of them designated as starter homes specifically aimed at first time buyers. It is hoped that the strategy will help to encourage more people to purchase their own home.
The move to direct commissioning is seen as a radical shift in policy from the Government. The practice will see them assume responsibility for sites rather than leaving them to large building firms. They will therefore be in charge of arranging the building, marketing and even the sales. This strategy will allow more small and medium sized businesses to get involved and can boost the number of properties that are made available.
The 13,000 plus homes will be built across five sites through the course of 2016. The sites are:
- Old Oak Common, North West London
- Connaught Barracks, Dover
- Ex-MOD land, Northstowe
- Lower Graylingwell, Chichester
- Daedulus Waterfront, Gosport
Each site is a brownfield so it is prime for redevelopment and won’t result in the loss of greenery. The first five sites will be the pilot of the scheme. By 2020 it is hoped that 200,000 new starter homes can be built. To fast track this a £1.2 billion fund will be established to help developers to clean up land so building can begin.
To further encourage new home building improvements in the planning system are necessary. These have been promised and the Government may be well served by pushing them through sooner rather than later. It seems particularly important when you consider that small builders, those who the government want to get involved in building new homes, point to planning as the major cause of delays and problems.
The new homes could prove to be very popular, particularly if they feature the technology that consumers demand. Buyers are conscious of the sustainability and environmental impact that homes have. They want to see homes with integrated technology, solar panels, insulation and other features that will enrich their quality of life. To be successful the designs need to satisfy these requirements.