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The Public Land for Housing programme was announced at Autumn Statement 2015 and aims to dispose of surplus government-owned land in England with capacity for at least 160,000 homes by the end of March 2020. This will increase the supply of land for housing development and contribute towards improving the efficiency and sustainability of the government’s estate.
Each department is responsible for identifying and releasing land towards the programme’s overall objectives, according to their individual plans and delivery commitments that each has agreed.
Ministers for the Department for Communities and Local Government are responsible for land and housing policy and for setting the overall direction of the programme. The Department for Communities and Local Government leads the programme by working with departments to identify and release land as quickly as possible, holding departments to account for their land disposal plans and publishing evidence to provide assurance that the programme’s outcomes are being achieved.
The Homes and Communities Agency acts as the government’s disposer of surplus land (outside London), receiving transfers from departments and disposing of land at pace, providing expertise and advice to departments in meeting their part in the programme’s objectives and collects, validates and reports programme performance data for the Department.
The Public Land for Housing Programme Annual Report, published in February 2017, reported that between May 2015 and September 2016 the total housing capacity of land either identified for sale or already released by all departments contributing to the programme was 145,492 (91 per cent of the programme ambition), of which land with capacity for 13,817 homes had been released.