Barwell to boost housebuilding in areas dominated by second homes

23 Dec 16

The government is to provide £60m to boost affordable housing in council areas most affected by second homeownership.

Money will be provided to 148 councils after the Department for Communities and Local Government announced regional allocations under the Community Housing Fund. The money is intended to provide backing for local housing groups to deliver homes aimed at first-time buyers.

One third of the funding – almost £20m – will be allocated directly to local authorities in the south west of England as this is the most popular region for second homes in the country. It accounts for 21% of all second homeownership, according to the government.

The second biggest recipient will be the South East (£11.3m) followed by the East of England (£9m), Yorkshire and Humberside (£6.4m), the North West (£5.9m) and the East Midlands (£2.7m). London will receive £2.3m, the West Midlands will benefit from £1.9m and the North East £1.3m.

Announcing the money, housing minister Gavin Barwell said the high number of second homes can be a frustration for many who struggle to find an affordable home in their community.

“This new fund will help tackle that by boosting supply and make sure community groups are at the heart of delivering new homes so that this is a country that works for everyone,” he said. “I saw for myself the great work community land trusts do on a recent visit to Cornwall and we want them to do much, much more.”

Allocating the funding to local housing organisations is intended to help ensure the types of homes built match those most needed in the area.

Catherine Harrington, the director of the National Community Land Trust Network which represents community land trusts that develop affordable housing, said new community-led housing providers are being formed every few days.

“This fund could triple the 3,000 homes that Community Land Trusts alone already have in the pipeline,” she stated.

“We are now looking forward to working with local authorities to help them use the funding in the way it is needed most and develop a strong community-led housing sector in their area.”

The first year of funding will be used to build capacity within local groups, for example improving technical skills, setting up support hubs to offer advice, business planning or providing staff to review local housing needs. Funding the following year must then be used to deliver housing on the ground for local people.

Councils will work closely with community-led housing groups to distribute the funding and ensure the right tools are in place to efficiently deliver new houses in subsequent years.

 

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