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Land: Public Sector

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 3rd March 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Conservative, Wimbledon

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the amount of public sector land not in use that could be used for housing.

Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Conservative, Wimbledon

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the size of the land bank that could be used for housing held by the (a) the public sector as a whole, (b) the NHS, (c) Network Rail, (d) local authorities and (e) the armed forces.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The Public Land for Housing programme (2015-2020) aims to identify and release surplus central government land with capacity for at least 160,000 homes in England by end March 2020. Since the start of the programme to end June 2019, departments had sold 508 sites with capacity for c48,000 homes. We confirmed to the Public Accounts Committee in 2019 that land for 160,000 homes will be released to a longer time frame due to the complexities of disposal and the evolving demands placed on departments’ estates.

We are currently considering options for a next programme, reflecting on lessons learnt. Decisions on a future programme, including estimating the amount of centrally owned public sector land that could be used for housing, will be made at Spending Review.

In addition, at Budget 2016, an announcement was made that councils would collaborate with central government on a local authority land ambition, working with their partners to release surplus local authority-owned land with the capacity for at least 160,000 homes by the end of March 2020. As of August 2019, two-thirds of local authorities in England were forecasting the release of land for approximately 128,000 homes by the end of March 2020. We will report on the final local authority land ambition numbers in Summer 2020 once the final set of data has been collected. We are considering options for the future of the local authority land ambition after March 2020, including estimating the amount of surplus local authority land that could be used for housing.

Information on land held by individual sectors is continually refined.

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