Public clients release land as part of government push to sell land for 160,000 homes by 2020

Network Rail and the Ministry of Defence have announced plans to release land for nearly 30,000 homes.

The public clients have identified land for sale capable of accommodating 12,000 and 17,000 homes respectively, as part of a government push to release land for 160,000 homes by 2020.

Network Rail has found nearly 200 sites across the UK suitable for residential developments. Plans have been put in place to deliver land for 5,000 homes in London, 3,600 homes in Manchester and the north, 1,700 homes in the Midlands and the east, and 1,400 homes in the south.

The programme is already under way with the largest 20 sites offering potential for ​​over 5,000 new homes.

Earmarked projects include the former Exchange Station site in Manchester (pictured), which will deliver land for 700 homes, and a major scheme at Chesterton near Cambridge which will release land for over 800 homes.

Network Rail said it will partner with developers to release land on a site-by-site basis over the next three to four years.

It’s also considering an “accelerated approach” whereby some sites may be grouped and sold as multi-site developments. These sites could go to market in spring 2017.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence is to shed over 1,200 hectares of surplus land across 13 sites in the UK.

The sale of the land is expected to raise £225m, all of which is to be invested back into the Armed Forces.

It is the third tranche of sites released by the MOD this year as part of its Estate Optimisation Strategy programme, which will see the MOD estate decrease its 500,000 hectares by 30% and will contribute to towards the £1bn target for land release sales set out in the Spending Review last year.

The land for sale includes two golf courses at RAF Henlow and Southwick Park

Defence secretary Michael Fallon said: “We are getting rid of land that we don’t need to build homes that we do, generating hundreds of millions of pounds in the process. Our commitment to protect and increase the budget for our armed forces means that every penny of that will be reinvested into defence, helping to keep Britain safe.”

However, he also acknowledged the impact these moves will have upon civilian and military staff.

The news follows Network Rail’s plans to unlock land for 12,000 new homes by 2020. Almost 200 sites across the country have been identified as offering development opportunities for housing.

MOD land to be sold at:

RAF Henlow (Bedfordshire); Middlewick Ranges (Essex); Amport House (Andover); Land at Harley Hill (Catterick); Chalgrove Airfield (Oxford) transferred to the Homes and Communities Agency; Colerne Airfield (Chippenham); Azimghur Barracks (Chippenham); Prince William of Gloucester Barracks (Grantham); Old Dalby (Melton Mowbray); Venning Barracks (Telford); Parsons Barracks (Donnington); Southwick Park (Fareham); Royal Marines Stonehouse (Plymouth).