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Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said these new measures would support locally led efforts to build on the momentum gathered since 2010 which has seen house building levels rise to a seven year high.
The initiatives include a locally led garden town at Bicester, backed by the council and local MP, which will provide up to 13,000 new homes and the provision of 10,000 new homes on surplus public sector land at Northstowe in Cambridgeshire.
Also announced is a new target to release enough formerly used surplus public sector land for 150,000 new homes between 2015 and 2020 and government support to provide 11,000 new homes at Barking Riverside in East London, and 7,500 new homes as part of the redevelopment of Brent Cross.
The government also announced measures that will provide 275,000 new homes between 2015 and 2020, the fastest rate of affordable house building in two decades and the first four housing estates to be shortlisted for a share of £150 million to kick start their radical regeneration.
Pickles said the programme would mean the creation of over 200,000 new homes across the country and added that the government is also committed to expanding existing towns.
Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, generally welcomed the announcements. ‘In one respect, the announcement of the 13,000 new homes to be built in Bicester may be seen as a good thing for the area and housing market there. Bicester is already a town which we have seen undergoing development in the last few years, and so new housing in the area will help to support its growth,’ he said.
‘ However, while this is a small and welcome step in the right direction in terms of housing supply, there is still much more needed across the country to meet the demand for housing both now and in the years to come. This need is reflected in the most recent announcement today of further significant building programmes,’ he explained.
‘It would seem that former public sector land now laying idle will form part of a significant plan to improve the number of available homes in the next five years. In addition, it would appear that support to provide new homes at Barking Riverside and Brent Cross is yet another step towards achieving the number of new builds so needed in those areas,’ he added.
But he pointed out that whilst infrastructure investment has been mentioned, the lack of capacity, in terms of skills and labour, is currently insufficient to meet the targets announced.
‘In terms of the affordable new homes programme announced, this is extremely good news, however this must be coupled with the availability and achievable accessibility to mortgage funds for first time buyers to enable them to benefit from the initiative,’ he added.