Government launches £150m custom build housing fund and offers £3m to planning authorities to accelerate planning process

Out-Law News | 27 Jun 2014 | 4:40 pm | 1 min. read

The department for communities and local government (DCLG) has launched a prospectus inviting bids for a share of £150 million in loans towards the release of plots of land for custom build housing in England.

According to the prospectus (24-page / 179 KB PDF), the fund will provide developers, builders, contractors and other private bodies with repayable loans to finance infrastructure works up to the boundaries of plots.

In the foreword to the prospectus, planning minister Nick Boles and housing minister Kris Hopkins said that the scheme was designed to emulate those of other countries, where "councils and developers proactively bring dedicated serviced building plots with planning permission to the market."

"All evidence shows that custom build can have a central role in boosting the supply of new homes and supporting continued economic growth", said the ministers.

According to the prospectus, no funding will be released until outline planning permission has been granted for plots. Funding will not be provided towards land acquisition costs, section 106 obligations, Community Infrastructure Levy, building construction or preparation of a planning application.

The scheme will apply only in England and bids which offer an early start, good value for money and the best prospects of investment recovery will be most likely to succeed.

The DCLG has also announced a £3m fund to help planning authorities to make progress with proposals held up in the planning process. According to a statement, "the fund will give authorities additional capacity to focus on issues such as finalising section 106 agreements and signing off planning conditions."

"The fund could accelerate starts on up to 85 sites with the potential for up to 25,000 homes", said the statement.

The custom-build prospectus invites the submission of expressions of interest by 30 September 2014.