Last week the UK Government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority launched its National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016 -2021. Chapter 11 “Housing and Regeneration” is of particular interest to the UK development market as it promises £9bn of infrastructure investment for major new regeneration projects. The head line points are as follows:

  • The government is committed to the most ambitious plan to build new homes since the 1970s, doubling the housing budget from 2018-2019 to deliver 400,000 new homes.
  • Significant sums will be spent on infrastructure to help unlock major housing developments including HS2 and Cross Rail (Old Oak Common), East-West Rail (Bicester Garden Town), the A14 (Northstowe) and an extension to London Over Ground services to Barking Riverside.
  • Highways England has been given £100m to match fund infrastructure to enable new development
  • A £2bn long term housing fund will be make government loans available to the private sector to unlock or accelerate the delivery of large housing sites
  • Local Authorities will have access to a £1.2bn Starter Homes Land Fund to allow them to remediate brownfield land to be used for housing to deliver at least 30,000 starter homes
  • HCA will work in partnership with Network Rail and local authorities to bring forward land around stations for development.
  • The government have launched an independent review of CIL and how it relates to s106 agreement to ensure it is working effectively.
  • The Housing and Planning Bill aims to get the nation building houses faster. This includes proposals to introduces a statutory register for brownfield sites (which will have a standard set of information that is publicly available which will provide certainty for developers), compulsory local plans to be introduced by 2017, NSIPs may allow up to 500 dwellings and to reduce uncertainty in the planning process a new “Permission in Principle” will be granted for housing led development sites allocated in future local and neighbourhood plans or identified in brownfield registers. In this scenario applicants will be able to apply directly for permission in principle for minor development to secure up-front certainty before investing in the detail.
  • The creation of a s106 dispute resolution process to help speed up the planning timescales
  • The Government will directly commission new homes – starting in 2016 – up to 13,000
  • The Government has committed to releasing public sector land for housing – with a target of land for 160,000 homes. Public Authorities also now have a duty to report on surplus land and if surplus land is being retained for a specified purpose the public sector now has a duty to publish the reasons for retaining that land.
  • Significant investment will be made in the infrastructure needed to deliver the following major new settlements, Ebbsfleet Garden City (15,000 new homes), Old Oak Common (24,000 new homes), Northstowe (10,000 new homes), Barking Riverside (11,000 new homes), Bicester Garden Town (13,000 new homes) and Brent Cross (7,500 new homes)

This is an excellent show of intent from the UK government and will help to drive confidence in the UK development market.