DCLG issues prospectus for ten housing zones outside London

Out-Law News | 14 Aug 2014 | 2:54 pm | 1 min. read

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published a prospectus (21-page / 381 KB PDF) inviting local councils across England to team up with developers to apply for funding to establish one of ten 'housing zones' proposed outside London.

Chancellor George Osborne announced plans in June for the allocation of 30 housing zones on brownfield sites across England, 20 in London and 10 outside London, in which planning restrictions will be removed using local development orders, enabling rapid delivery of residential development.

The prospectus, published yesterday, invites local authorities outside London to submit requests for the housing zone designation of brownfield sites that they consider suitable for the delivery of at least 750 homes. Requests are to be accompanied by bids from private sector development partners for a share of £200 million in government loans towards the cleaning up of sites and the delivery of infrastructure to enable rapid development.

Funding will be available under the scheme for the years 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18, the prospectus said. Successful bidders will receive access to planning support from the government's Advisory Team for Large Applications, and "brokerage support from central government to help remove barriers that are preventing schemes from moving forward". Successful councils will also be able to access borrowing at reduced rates and will receive priority when applying for a share of a separate £5m fund set up by the government to help local authorities to prepare local development orders.

According to the prospectus, priority will be given to bids to allocate sites with the highest proportion of brownfield land, and to councils that can best demonstrate how allocation will enable the quick delivery of high quality homes. The alignment of proposed development with local priorities for economic growth and housing will also be considered and councils will be required to supply evidence that they are willing to offer their own contributions of finance and/or in kind, to the housing zone.

"We need to build more homes in this country, but it's also vital we protect the countryside that people rightly treasure," said housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis in a statement. "That's why the government is offering councils a share of £200 m to prioritise development on brownfield land. The new dedicated housing zones will transform disused and derelict land, and ensure the new homes are built quickly in a process that is more straightforward for councils and builders."

Bids can be made through the Homes and Communities Agency's partner portal.

The government said that it would accept bids from 22 August. The deadline for the submission of bids is 3 October at noon.