Sat, 21 Sep 2019

LONDON, UK - Up to 50,000 new homes in high demand areas will be delivered through over £600 million of new investment for housing in England, the British government announced on Saturday.

The funding will be made available through the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), originally launched by Chancellor Sajid Javid when he was Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Since it was launched, £1.3 billion has been allocated to deliver up to 76,500 homes.

The announcement on Saturday, the government says, builds on this. It says the £600 million will help deliver five new projects in London, Central Bedfordshire and Essex – all areas of high demand for new housing.

"I want to see more homes built in the places people want to live, so more people realise the dream of homeownership. But we need the roads, rail links, and schools to support the families living in those homes, which is why I set up a fund to put in place the infrastructure to unlock new homes in these areas, Javid said Saturday.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick (pictured) added: "To build more, we need to provide the infrastructure and public services to match. This package will support existing communities and ensure they receive the roads and schools to sustain the homes being built."

"Last year we built more new homes than any other year bar one in the last 30 years. There's more to do and I will be focusing relentlessly on getting Britain building," he said.

While there are many sites all over the country that could be used for new housing projects, many lack the infrastructure needed to make building homes on them viable. This can be because they lack the roads, rail links, or schools required to unlock new development.

The HIF, the government says, is designed to support local authorities that want to step up their plans to increase the overall housing supply, make more land available for housing, and deliver new physical infrastructure that supports new and existing communities.

The five specific projects announced by the Chancellor are:

- £218 million for the 'Beaulieu Station and North-East bypass' bid from Essex County Council to deliver a new train station and road improvements to unlock up to 14k homes.

- £156 million for the 'Meridian Water' bid from Enfield to deliver rail works, road infrastructure, land remediation, flood alleviation and utilities to unlock up to 10k homes

- £99.9 million for the 'Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community' bid from Essex County Council to deliver a new single carriageway link road and works to unlock up to 7.5k homes.

- £69.6 million for the 'Transformational Growth in Biggleswade' bid from Central Bedfordshire to deliver a new secondary school and transport infrastructure to unlock up to c.3k homes.

- £80.8 million for the 'East London Line – Growth Capacity' bid from the GLA to deliver transport upgrades to unlock up to 14k homes.

The Housing Infrastructure Fund is a government capital grant programme of up to £5.5 billion. The Fund is divided into 2 streams:

- Marginal Viability Funding: available to all single and lower tier local authorities in England – to provide the final or missing piece of infrastructure funding to get additional sites allocated or existing sites unblocked quickly

- Forward Funding: available to the uppermost tier of local authorities in England – for a small number of strategic and high-impact infrastructure projects. The announced projects are all successful 'Forward Funding' bids.

Funding, the government says, is being awarded to local authorities on a highly competitive basis, providing grant funding for new infrastructure that will unlock new homes in the areas of greatest housing demand across the country.

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