Ministers to announce sales of sites for 100,000 homes tomorrow

Housing minister Grant Shapps has secured agreement for a £10bn release of public sector land held across government to build 100,000 homes.

The deal, trailed in the March budget, will see the Public Expenditure Committee chaired by paymaster general Francis Maude, chase up individual departments to ensure all possible sites are made available and listed in a public register.

The committee will be advised by “property specialists” from across government.

This will start with the sale of a number of sites by the Homes and Communities Agency, including the former Fairmile hospital site in Oxfordshire for 354 homes. Shapps will also trumpet the ongoing sale of the 57-acre New Covent Garden Market site in Vauxhall as part of the plan, alongside three former MoD sites in Bath for up to 1,200 new homes.

Two other departments are also expected to announce land disposals at a formal announcement tomorrow.

The government claims the total amount of land to be sold off will represent an area twice the size of Leicester.

A map will be launched showing the location of every government-owned piece of land.

Shapps is expected to say tomorrow: “As one of the country’s biggest landlords, the government has a critical role to play in making sites available for developers so we can get the homes this country needs built.

“Over the coming months, property specialists will work to make sure no stone is left unturned and no site is left unused, and every department’s plans will come under the close scrutiny of a cabinet committee. It is now for developers to come forward, make the most of this unique opportunity, and help contribute to our country-wide efforts to help get the homes this country needs built.”

The March budget had said that the government intended “to accelerate the release of public sector land to support homes and jobs” particularly through using former military sites. It also suggested widening out the “build now, pay later” principal, pioneered by the HCA to sites sold off by other parts of government.