England

Cash for councils to help 'turbo-charge' home building

Sandwell
Image caption New homes are to be built in Sandwell in the West Midlands

Government funding totalling £18m is being offered to councils in England to speed up building of up to 800,000 new homes on large developments.

Authorities can bid for a share of the "capacity fund" to tackle planning issues that can hold up projects.

The creation of six new housing zones to support developing 10,000 new homes on brownfield sites was also announced.

Government support for the new Otterpool Park garden town in Shepway, Kent, was also revealed.

Housing minister Gavin Barwell said: "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."

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

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

The new housing zones are:

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

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