Housing minister welcomes ‘clamour’ for £420m Get Britain Building fund aimed at unlocking stalled sites

The government’s flagship scheme to unlock housing schemes that have stalled due to the economic downturn has been overwhelmed with bids and is three times oversubscribed, the housing minister has admitted.

The £420m Get Britain Building fund, launched two months ago in place of the previous government’s scheme, has seen a total of 176 expressions of interest - meaning the programme is now three times oversubscribed, housing minister Grant Shapps said.

He said taken together the bids received so far cover 392 individual sites and that overall £420m investment over 2012-13 and 2013-14 was expected to unlock the building of up to 16,000 homes on sites that are currently stalled.

Earlier this month the Homes & Communities Agency said it had fast-tracked 18 housing schemes though the programme in a bid to kick start construction on 1,300 homes.

The fund replaces Labour’s effort in 2009 to unlock stalled sites, called Kickstart, which was worth £900m in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

The Homes and Communities Agency ended that scheme in 2010 after being hit with £450m in-year reduction to its budget as part of the coalition government’s spending cuts.

Shapps said: “I am greatly encouraged by the clamour from developers large and small to get Britain building by applying for a share of our £420m fund to unlock stalled sites across the country.”