Cash made available to councils to help 'turbo-charge' building of homes


Councils in England are being offered £18 million in government funding to speed up the construction of up to 800,000 new homes on large developments.

Local authorities will be able to bid the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for a share of the "capacity fund" to tackle planning issues that can hold up projects.

Housing Minister Gavin Barwell also announced the creation of six new housing zones to support the development of 10,000 new homes on brownfield sites, as well as government support for the new Otterpool Park garden town in Shepway, Kent.

"We want to turbo-charge house building on large sites to get the homes built in the places people want to live, so that this country works for everyone, not just the privileged few," Mr Barwell said.

The new housing zones are the Sheffield Housing Zone; the North East Lincolnshire Urban Housing Zone, with sites in Grimsby and Cleethorpes; the Hoyland-Wombwell Strategic Housing Zone in Barnsley, South Yorkshire; the Sandwell Housing Zone in the West Midlands; the Pennine-Lancashire Housing Zone with sites in Blackburn and Burnley; and the Wirral Waters Housing Zone in Merseyside.

For Labour, shadow housing secretary John Healey said the additional funding was "a drop in the ocean" compared to the scale of the housing "crisis".

"Ministers are set to spend around £2 billion less this year on housing than under Labour. So an £18 million fund won't come anywhere near compensating for previous short-sighted cuts," he said.