How to accelerate the release of public sector land

14th December 2012

How to accelerate the release for public sector land

A new report published today (14 December) sets out how Government could unlock the delivery of thousands of new homes using surplus public sector land.

An Expert Advisory Panel, led by Berkeley Group chairman Tony Pidgley and commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government, has identified 18 sites with the potential to deliver 23,000 new homes.

Their report to Government makes five key recommendations:

  1. Require all public sector landowners with surplus sites to create a 'plan for sale' while the Government provides incentives and sanctions to ensure these are disposed of in a clear and speedy way.
  2. Offer surplus land to developers on a simple two year peppercorn option.
  3. Classify large housing developments as major infrastructure, producing a fast track planning process which still guarantees community engagement and design quality.
  4. Provide infrastructure funding for the schemes over 500 homes.
  5. Ensure a constructive, coordinated approach from statutory consultees.

"This is a golden opportunity to deliver growth and great places', said Tony Pidgley, as Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel. "It's surplus public land. It doesn't need new legislation. In recent weeks, the Deputy Prime Minister has urged us to think big. The Planning Minister has urged us to make new housing beautiful. On all these sites we can do both."

"What it needs is a simple system to dispose of the available land alongside investment in infrastructure, and then the private sector can shoulder the risk, paying back the funding and land value to government once the homes are built."

"If statutory consultees step up to the mark and give their advice in a timely and constructive manner; and everyone shows a common commitment, we can create some fantastic new places fast, with huge dividends in terms of homes, jobs, and GDP".

The Expert Advisory Panel comprised Keith Exford, Group Chief Executive of Affinity Sutton; Bob Lane OBE, Chairman of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation; David Pretty, CBE; and Tony Pidgley, Chairman of the Berkeley Group.

Berkeley warmly welcomes the recent announcement by the Government of around £190 million of funding to enable quicker disposal of surplus public sector land for new homes, and the range of new investment in housing signalled in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • The Berkeley Group build homes and neighbourhoods. We focus on creating beautiful, successful places. We work together with other people to tackle the shortage of good quality homes, and we make a lasting contribution to the landscape and to the communities we help create.
  • The Berkeley Group is made up for 5 autonomous companies: St George, St James, Berkeley, Berkeley First, and St Edward. We are publicly-owned and listed on the London Stock Exchange as a FTSE 250 company.
  • Berkeley's business strategy is called Vision 2020. This focuses on four key areas: running a sustainable business, the customer experience, delivering sustainable communities, and building greener homes.
  • The Berkeley Group was voted Britain's Most Admired Company across all industries in 2011 as well as Housebuilder of the Year for the last two years, and has been ranked Britain's most sustainable major housebuilder for the last seven years by the Next Generation benchmark.
  • The Berkeley Foundation supports young people and their communities across London and the South-East of England through charitable donations and the time and talent of our staff.

For all media enquiries contact Matt Bell, Group Head of External Affairs (matt.bell@berkeleygroup.co.uk) on 07825.196143.

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