William Eichler 12 July 2016

DCLG’s land disposal programme has had ‘slow start’, says watchdog

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has only met 5% of its commitment to release enough public sector land for 160,000 homes by 2020, auditors have revealed.

A new report by the National Audit Office (NAO) has found that so far the DCLG has only disposed of land with the capacity for an estimated 8,580 homes.

It reported additional land with the capacity for another 4,853 homes (an extra 3%) has been disposed of but adds there is not enough evidence the land will be developed for housing.

In order for DCLG to achieve the commitment, the NAO argues, departments must dispose of more sites in each of the next four years than in the best performing year of the previous land disposals programme.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said today: ‘While progress has been made, DCLG still has a lot to do to meet the Government’s commitment to dispose of land for 160,000 homes by 2020.’

‘The current programme has had a relatively slow start,’ he continued.

‘At most, 8% of the overall commitment has been achieved in the first full ten months of the programme, meaning departments must now dispose of more land in each of the remaining four years than they achieved in any year of the previous land disposals programme.’

Responding to the NAO’s report, a DCLG spokesperson said: ‘In the last programme we exceeded our commitment to release enough land for 100,000 homes and are now going even further by releasing enough public sector land for at least 160,000 homes.

‘The National Audit Office agree that progress has been made, we have measures in place and will monitor the progress of land development including the number of homes built.’

‘We are fully committed to accelerating the release of public sector land openly and transparently and expect land for tens of thousands of new homes to be released this year,’ they added.

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