The Government has unveiled plans to back up to three garden cities, each with more than 15,000 homes, to help tackle the chronic housing shortage in the south east.Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has publish a long-awaited prospectus, which he described as a call to arms for a new generation of garden cities.
But the Government made clear that funding would have to be taken from the existing pot of development investment.
This will include £1bn of funding over the next six years, from the Large Sites Fund, which was first announced in the Autumn Statement and formally launched with the Garden Cities Prospectus.
This fund is being targeted at housing schemes over 1,500 that require that have slowed down or stalled completely and need investment in local infrastructure to boost their viability.
The Government hopes it will unlock up to 250,000 new homes between 2015 and 2020, and provide a springboard for successful bidders who also want to deliver locally-led garden cities.
Expressions of interest in the fund must be submitted to the Homes and Communities Agency by the end of May.
Regions putting forward Garden City proposals have no fixed deadline.
Some further investment will be available through the local infrastructure fund, which is already accelerating development of 69,000 homes in areas such as Cranbrook in Devon, and Wokingham in Berkshire.
The prospectus fails to define what is meant by a garden city and stipulates that bidders must set out how the developments will be financed, particularly how private finance will be leveraged and how the scheme will make the best use of land and assets.
“Garden cities are communities where future generations will live, work, have children, grow up and grow old,” said Clegg.
“I’m publishing a new prospectus, which calls for local areas to submit their plans for garden cities that will provide affordable homes, good schools, and jobs for the next generation, while at the same time preserving the countryside.
“This is a call to arms for visionaries in local areas in need of housing to put forward radical and ambitious proposals to develop their own garden cities.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced plans for a new investment scheme to speed up house building in the capital.At the centre of the unique scheme would be a new London Housing Bank.
This would lend up to £200m to developers so they could speed up the building of around 3,000 homes on large scale, multi-phase schemes, which already have planning consent.
These homes would then be let to Londoners at low cost rent for up to 10 years before being sold on, with the loan repaid to City Hall.
The idea follows research for the Mayor,which found planning consents have been granted for around 200,000 homes in London that have not yet been built.
Johnson said this figure was being confused with developers land banking sites.
But around three quarters of the consents are on large, multi-stage regeneration developments of more than 500 homes, which can take many years to complete.
Often this is due to funding and sales constraints, which can limit the pace of building.
“We’re doing everything we can to double house building across the capital and address a 30 year failure to build enough homes for this thriving city,” said Johnson.
“Through this exciting new fund we hope to provide thousands of brand new homes many years sooner than would otherwise be possible, and make them available to rent at more affordable, below market, rates for hardworking Londoners.”
His plan was aired a week after the Mayor published London’s updated Housing Strategy setting out a long-term ambition to increase supply to at least 42,000 new homes per annum.
This is around double what has been achieved over the last 20 years. Of these, at least 17,000 should be affordable with 5,000 for purpose-built long-term market rent.
The Mayor is consulting agencies and organisations within the housing industry on the London Housing Bank proposals. The closing date for responses is the 21 May.
New homes "Think Tank", The Futures Group, details how to rise to the challenge of delivering better homes for the consumer.
Contributors to The Futures Group include leading experts from national house builders, manufacturers and regulatory bodies.
The UK Government has set out an ambitious plan for all new homes to be zero carbon from 2016. The Zero Carbon Hub is here to help you understand the challenges, issues and opportunities involved in developing, building and marketing your low and zero carbon homes. www.zerocarbonhub.org