More than 100 council-led schemes will receive funding    


Source: Shutterstock / Gordon Ball LRPS

Up to 200,000 new homes are set to get off the ground, with the government today confirming £866m investment in local housing projects.

Housing secretary Sajid Javid and chancellor Philip Hammond announced that 133 council-led projects across the country would receive funding.

This is the first wave of funding from the £5bn Housing Infrastructure Fund to be awarded.

The investment is set to fund infrastructure projects including roads, cycle paths, flood defences and land remediation work needed before building homes.

Some of the projects being funded include £10m for highway infrastructure to allow further development at the Ashton Green housing site in Leicester and £10m for construction of a bypass in Botley, Hampshire.

Javid said: “Our priority is building the homes this country desperately needs. This first wave of investment totalling £866m will help get up to 200,000 homes off the ground, making a huge difference to communities across the country.”

Hammond added: “Today marks the first step of the multi-billion pound investment we announced at the Budget to help build the homes our country needs. This fund finances vital infrastructure such as roads, schools and bridges, which will kick-start housing development in some of Britain’s highest-demand areas.

“This support will help us meet our ambitious plan of building 300,000 new homes each year and ensure we have enough housing in areas which need it most.”

The £5bn Housing Infrastructure Fund is a government capital grant programme awarded to local authorities to help build new homes in areas with the greatest housing demand.

The fund is divided into two streams.

The Marginal Viability Fund is available to all single and lower tier local authorities in England to provide a piece of infrastructure funding to get additional sites allocated or existing sites unblocked quickly. Bids can be up to £10m.

A Forward Fund available to the uppermost tier of local authorities in England. Bids can be up to £250m.

The government will be progressing Forward Funding projects to go through to co-development over the coming weeks, with final funding set to be announced from autumn 2018. 

During the autumn Budget in November, the government set a target of building 300,000 homes per year by the mid-2020s, backed by investment of £44bn in housing over the next five years. 

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) welcomed the news, but said there was an urgent need to bring schemes forward to market to bolster economic growth.

Director of external affairs for CECA Marie-Claude Hemming said: “We call on local authorities across England to take every step at their disposal to bring these schemes forward to market.

“There is an urgent need to bolster economic growth, and to deliver the infrastructure communities and businesses rely upon up and down the country. To do this, we need to get spades in the ground without delay.”