Builders have warned that government plans to fund brownfield projects run the risk of being “more grandstanding and another wasted opportunity”.
Under the government’s Levelling Up agenda, derelict sites in towns and city centres are to be used for new homes.
Some 20 areas, including Wolverhampton and Sheffield, will be prioritised within a new £1.5bn brownfield fund.
The levelling up home building fund will provide loans to small and medium sized builders and developers to deliver 42,000 homes. The majority of these homes are set to be outside London and the South East, as part of the government’s bid to give other regions a boost.
However, the National Federation of Builders (NFB) has warned that unless the funding comes hand-in-hand with other changes, it could fall short.
Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy at National Federation of Builders, welcomed the government’s announcement of funding brownfielod projects, as well as more support for regional Mayors and targeted regeneration fyunding.
However, Wojtulewicz said: “Their attempt to play to the red wall gallery via the levelling up home building fund, which highlights how many homes will be built outside London and the South East, suggests they are prepared to let the South continue levelling down, while pretending they are succeeding elsewhere.
“This is because their own figures show that the North and Midlands are broadly meeting the minimum housing targets, as well as exceeding them by up to 400 per cent, whereas the South aren’t just missing their targets but presiding over some of the least affordable housing in the UK and highest numbers of young people moving away.”
The trade body believes that “the devil will be in detail,” Wojtulewicz said.
However, “unless funding is complemented by the planning policies to enable homes, jobs, transport and infrastructure, it will feel like yet more grandstanding and another wasted opportunity to use a 75 seat majority for strategic national transformation,” he explained.
“We have many years of experience undertaking a broad range of brownfield land and regeneration projects which combined with full use of our statutory powers and funding means we’re well positioned to transform places and communities,” Homes England chair Peter Freeman CBE said.