Housing secretary also unveils £100m-plus fund to support self-builders

James Brokenshire

James Brokenshire

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has announced a £450m government fund to speed up the delivery of homes on surplus public land by encouraging the use of innovative methods and hiring smaller builders.

Speaking at a Policy Exchange event today, Brokenshire (pictured) said: “The prize in our sights is a much more diverse market where modern methods of construction are in the mainstream – and Britain is a leader in the field.

He said: “I want to see the whole sector, public and private, getting behind the latest innovations in development and building. We’re supporting builders to do this through initiatives such as the £3bn Home Building Fund.

“In doing so, we’re also backing the small and medium sized builders who were all but wiped out in the financial crash. We want them to grow and deliver once again.

“Our Accelerated Construction Programme is an example of this our vision in action. We’re working with local authorities to identify suitable surplus public sector land.

“And today we’re releasing £450 million to speed up delivery on these sites, by encouraging the use of modern methods of construction and SME builders as a part of this process.”

Brokenshire branded the figures contained in Oliver Letwin’s interim report on buildout as “frankly not good enough”.

Letwin found it takes more than 15 years to complete the building of homes on some of the country’s biggest sites. Meanwhile there has been a 40% lapse in planning permissions and in London 270,000 residential planning consents remain un-built.

In the same raft of announcements Brokenshire confirmed a £100m-plus fund to support self-builders who are developing genuinely affordable housing.

The Community Housing Fund is likely to help existing groups like RUSS in south-east London, whose Architype-designed scheme won planning last month, and London CLT, which is has been chosen to deliver housing on two TfL sites and which recently submitted Archio-deigned plans for a third site to Lewisham council.

The cash will also enable the creation of more groups that develop community-led housing, said Tom Chance, director of the National CLT Network.

“This is a landmark moment for the movement. There is real belief that it’s a movement on the cusp of going mainstream,” he said. “This is the biggest investment the sector has seen for the last 30 years.”

“Traditional housing models just aren’t cutting it and new approaches to housebuilding must play a bigger role if we are to see off the housing crisis once and for all.”

The groups often chose local practices to design their homes, he added.