OVER 10,000 new homes are to be built on Ministry of Defence (MoD) land at sites across the country, the Government has said.
The deal, announced by communities secretary James Brokenshire MP, was welcomed by the National Housing Federation (NHF), but with a caveat that at least half of the homes be “affordable”.
In a partnership between Homes England and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), surplus land released by the MoD at seven military bases will be used for the new homes. Here in the North, sites will be developed at Claro and Deverell Barracks in Ripon, North Yorkshire.
“As we work to make our military bases more modern and efficient, it’s important that former MoD land is used in a way which serves local residents and the economy,” said Tobias Ellwood MP, minister for defence people and veterans.
“This new partnership underlines our commitment to helping housebuilding in this country and will provide good value for money to taxpayers.”
The deal with the MoD is part of a package announced by the communities secretary today, featuring £250 million of housing deals to deliver almost 25,000 homes.
As part of this, the Government is to invest £157 million in infrastructure, such as building roads and putting natural green space alongside developments.
“We delivered 222,000 homes last year which is the highest number in a decade, but we must keep upping our game,” said Brokenshire. “We are invoking the spirit of Britain’s post-war push to build as we strive to hit our target of 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, for the first time since the days of Harold Macmillan.
“By investing in infrastructure, freeing up public sector land and offering targeted loans we are making the housing market work. These deals struck today will help us build almost 25,000 more homes – which is another symbolic step towards our homebuilding targets.”
Meanwhile, the Government confirmed £157 million will be invested under the Housing Infrastructure Fund in schemes in Devon and Cumbria.
For the latter, the money will pay for a new motorway link road between south Carlisle and the M6, which it is claimed will unlock up to 10,000 new homes at St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.
“The Government is right to invest in tackling the housing crisis – the £250 million of funding allocated by James Brokenshire today could have a real impact by helping to unlock thousands of new homes across the country,” said Catherine Ryder, the NHF’s head of policy.
“The secretary of state is also right to recognise that the housing crisis is a national one and needs action across the country to tackle it. However, it’s important that we recognise how far we still have to go. We need to be building 340,000 homes every year, including 90,000 social homes, to make sure that everyone has somewhere secure and affordable to live. Last year, only around 6,500 social homes were built.
“We urgently need to rectify this situation, which means we need major Government investment in affordable homes and mixed communities. Solving the housing crisis will also require major changes to the way that land is bought and sold. Land needs to be made cheaper so that housing associations can afford to buy it to build new social housing.
“We are glad to see that the Government is also planning to use surplus MoD land to build new homes, but ministers must use this opportunity to use public land for the public good by ensuring at least half of the homes are affordable.”