More housing is needed in the UK. That can be agreed on, but opinions on how to make this happen vary a great deal. The DCLG – or Department for Communities and Local Government – has weighed in with its way of bringing this about with its Land Release Fund, which is being viewed as a worthy step to solving the housing crisis. Commentators have said the fund is a good example of proactive thinking, and that housing associations are in an excellent position to make the most of this undertaking.
How much, and for what?
The fund is £54 million of capital to enable councils to free up land that is surplus, or not being used, for building housing. The money is being directed towards infrastructure projects on a small scale, along with the kind of land remediation service that will reclaim polluted sites.
The government hopes to release enough land owned by councils to deliver some 160,000 new homes by the year 2020. This will also contribute to the aim of creating around 250,000 new dwellings each year. The NHS could also release land for housing, according to this report from The Guardian.
Small is beautiful
The fund indicates the government sees value in developing compact sites. Using overlooked land pockets could be just as useful in reaching annual housing targets as large developments. Plus, it will encourage diversity in the construction sector by providing more opportunities for small building companies.
In the Seventies, around a quarter of new homes were constructed by small builders, and that figure has decreased by around half. Small builders have faced many obstacles, but housing associations could also be proactive in creating more opportunities for smaller concerns.
Reclaiming land on a small scale is also beneficial. If you want to discover more about the land remediation service it would be a good idea to consult experts in the field such as http://www.ashremediation.co.uk.
Housing shortages are acute, and the land fund is a welcome nudge from the government. Councils should organise themselves and plan how to make the most of this funding, and not only provide homes but give smaller companies in the construction industry a boost at the same time. Collaboration and creative partnerships can help ensure extracting the greatest value from released land.