On October 9, 2023, the UK government announced that more than 6000 new homes will be built on brownfield sites, thanks to revitalization funding given to local councils to transform unused land into beautiful and thriving neighborhoods.
Across the country, from Hull to Somerset, nearly 100 regeneration projects will receive £60 million ($73.8 million USD) from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Minister for Housing and Planning, Rachel Maclean MP said, “We know we need to build more homes, but this cannot come at the expense of concreting over our precious countryside. That is why we are doing all we can to make sure we’re making use of wasteland and unused brownfield land, so we can turn these eyesores into beautiful and thriving communities.”
“This is all part of our long-term plan for housing – making sure we deliver the homes we need across the country,” she added.
The investment is part of the second phase of the £180 million Brownfield Land Release Fund, with cash going directly to councils so they can release the land and get building as soon as possible.
Derelict automobile parking lots, industrial sites and downtown buildings that have fallen into disrepair will all benefit from the new funding, with the government supporting communities to bring land back into use.
The government has been clear it has a brownfield-first approach to building the homes this country needs through its long-term plan for housing and today’s announcement will help deliver that.
Cabinet Office Minister, Alex Burghart MP said, “This funding will unleash the much-needed redevelopment of brownfield sites: stimulating growth and helping local areas reach their full potential. It’s fantastic news for business, and even better news for local people who will now see new investment, job opportunities, and family homes in their communities.”
Projects that will benefit from the program include:
- Newcastle: £1.82 million to boost wider regeneration by releasing a complex site to deliver 146 build-to-rent homes for communities in Benwell and Scotswood.
- Hull: delivering 99 new homes for affordable rent on the site of a derelict school, backed by £980,000 government funding as part of the city centre regeneration.
- Sunderland: turning a former riverside industrial site that has been unused for over 20 years into 140 low-carbon build to rent homes at Farringdon Row, with £1.8 million for Sunderland Council to kick-start the project.
Councillor Shaun Davies, Chair of the Local Government Association said, “We are delighted to continue our work with DLUHC, supporting councils to access the Brownfield Land Release Fund. Councils have continued to embrace opportunities to bring brownfield sites in their ownership forward for housing, and this fund plays a key role in helping councils to provide the types of homes their communities really need.”
This builds on the success of the first round of Brownfield Land Release Fund 2, where funding is enabling the release of land for almost 2,400 homes.
To date, the fund is supporting at least 89 local authorities, over 160 projects, and providing almost £100 million to support councils to release land for almost 8,600 homes. At the same time, the £1 billion Brownfield, Infrastructure and Land Fund will unlock up to 65,000 new homes across England.
The next round of funding through Brownfield Land Release Fund 2 will be announced later this year.
The fund is part of the government’s long-term plan for housing, setting out how it will deliver its manifesto commitment of 1 million homes over this Parliament. This is backed by £10 billion in housing supply interventions announced over this Parliament.
In separate but related news, on October 10, 2023, it was announced that—following a successful application—the Southampton City Council was awarded £1.08m from the Brownfield Land Release Fund to demolish two sites at Townhill Park to allow new affordable homes to be built.
The two blocks adjacent to Benhams Road and the three blocks at Rowlands Walk (pictured at top) will be demolished, thanks to the Brownfield Land Release Fund, enabling new homes to come forward and supporting the wider regeneration of Townhill Park with over six-hundred brand new council homes. It is estimated that the new sites will deliver 220 new homes.
The residents from Benhams Road and Rowlands Walk have been moved out of these blocks in preparation for the demolition to make way for the regeneration of these sites. The blocks are now empty and valuable materials have been removed and the buildings secured.
The project has been funded by HM Government via the Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF2) which is part of the Government’s plan to prioritise brownfield land for new housing, transforming underused sites into places where people want to live and work, while also protecting cherished green spaces.
It is anticipated that the Council will have contracts in place and for the demolition itself to commence in late spring 2024. We will be in contact with residents and local schools to keep them updated on the demolition.
Councillor Lorna Fielker, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Health at Southampton City Council said, “As a council, we’re committed to building good quality, affordable housing that our residents can benefit from, which is why I am delighted that we have been awarded this funding from the Brownfield Land Release Fund to support us with taking down unused sites at Townhill Park to make way for new homes to be built.”
“Receiving this funding means that we can regenerate sites at Townhill Park faster which in turn will help to accelerate the delivery of at least 8,000 affordable homes by 2040,” she concluded.
Image courtesy of Southampton City Council.