The government has recently announced new measures to enable much-needed new homes to be built in urban areas. Yes, a shortage of affordable housing, increasing vacant brownfield sites, and the need to help cities and high streets recover after the pandemic have made it time to regenerate our cities. Find out more…
How will it be done?
Under the new guidance, England’s twenty largest cities will be encouraged to plan for more family homes to be built. When we think of city living, we think apartments. But this updated method to the housing need formula will encourage cities to plan for a mix of family dwellings, away from green spaces. The homes built will need to be the right size and type for families. And the key part of the plan is to make use of vacant buildings and underused land in the cities, as well as towns across the country. It will be easier to convert former commercial premises into new homes through a fast-track planning permission process. Plus, with a new ‘Urban Centre Recovery Task Force’ on hand, a panel of experts will be able to advise on development and regeneration projects and planning.
Of course, there also needs to be an element of investment to enable a successful mission to regenerate our cities. And the government confirmed this was to be the case. Specifically, more than £67 million in funding will be heading to both the West Midlands and Greater Manchester Authorities to enable them to deliver new homes on brownfield land. They are both areas where demand for property remains high, however city living is currently unaffordable for many. These regions can also expect an additional £100 million of funding for brownfield development.
In January, there are plans to launch a new £100 million Brownfield Land Release Fund to support brownfield development. Councils across England who aren’t in those Mayoral Combined Authority areas which have already benefited from the £400 million brownfield fund, will have access to the new fund. And a significant amount of the £100 million of it is there to support self and custom-builders, with councils encouraged to start considering and preparing bids for new family home development.
It’s not a new concept, making good use of brownfield sites to develop homes. However, doing it within the heart or our towns and cities is. With an easier route to planning permission, and encouragement to convert former commercial buildings to homes, there’s plenty of room for creativity. Plus, it can make a real difference to our high streets, which are changing every year and even more so since the pandemic. We look forward to seeing where pockets of new homes and communities emerge over the next few years.
There have already been a number of plans submitted and approved. For example, a major housing scheme is set for Rochdale town centre. As part of that, over 200 new homes will be built on the town’s former Central Retail Park, a current derelict brownfield plot. Meanwhile in Derbyshire, Council Chiefs in Chesterfield have launched a survey to assess demand and establish if people would want to live in the town’s centre.
Built on Brownfield – Novus from Miller Homes in Stretford, Manchester
This Miller Homes development on the outskirts of Manchester city centre, is located on the former Itron gas meter factory in Stretford. Stretford itself is a town which is undergoing significant redevelopment and is fast becoming a popular place for families to settle.
Buyers can expect to find a mix of two, three, and four-bedroom houses, as well as one and two-bedroom apartments. Homes are modern, open-plan and versatile to suit young professionals and families. In fact, this is an award-winning development with McAuliffe Group, a subcontractor of Miller Homes in the North West, having won the Best Application of Remediation Technologies award at the Brownfield Awards 2020.
Find out more about the Novus development and see the homes here.
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