Government land release scheme boosts affordable housing development

New approach gives much needed impetus to once stagnant market

Grand GatesAccording to leading industry bodies, a new government land-release scheme could significantly help increase the development of affordable housing across the UK.

Dubbed the government’s “right to contest” scheme, it allows the public to question the use of central government-owned land by submitting an application claiming that a site is potentially surplus to needs or is simply redundant, or more importantly, could be put to better use, with housing being the main argument.

What most people do not realise is that our government owns more than £330 billion of land and property across the UK. Independent studies suggest that the public purse holds up to 40 per cent of development-ready land and around 27 per cent of brownfield land suitable for new home builds.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, who announced the scheme recently said “To help the country live within its means we need to use every bit of property we own effectively. Of course we will never sell our national treasures such as Downing Street or the British Museum, but there are hundreds of other properties across the country which are under-used or lying vacant.”

Along with the scheme, the government plans to launch a website allowing users to search and find suitable acquisitions, such as government-owned property and land.

Are we outgrowing ourselves?

This latest move just underscores the steep climb in demand which our country is under to find or build new homes. With suitable brownfield sites hard to come by, the Government is looking for ways to recycle and rejuvenate unused or outdated properties before taking to unpopular and devastating decision to open up green belt land for building. A decision which will be wholeheartedly unpopular throughout the country.

Here at Development Land for Sale, we have seen a significant increase in traffic to our website and more so, enquiries for developers and investors looking for suitable land for development. 2014 is certainly shaping up to be a growth year in this once flat sector; a change that has been a long time coming.

With hundreds of plots on offer in our database, we certainly agree that all brownfield options should be considered and explored before we start to cut up our countryside to make way for new homes. With a growing population year on year, politicians are coming under increasing pressure to deal with the increased demand for homes.

How they come up with a suitable or popular solution is yet to be determined.