Thomas Bridge 02 December 2014

Pickles targets 275k new affordable homes by 2020

Eric Pickles has revealed plans to deliver 275,000 new affordable homes across the country by 2020, among a wave of new residential targets.

With the Government yesterday unveiling its vision for a garden city with 13,000 homes at Bicester, the communities secretary has pledged to ‘maintain momentum’ of house building by setting new targets to release enough former public sector land to support 150,000 new homes over the next five years.

Some 10,000 homes will be provided on surplus public sector land at Northstowe in Cambridgeshire, while the Government will provide backing to support the provision of 11,000 new homes at Barking Riverside in East London.

Ministers have come under increasing pressure to prioritise brownfield land for residential construction, with one recent report suggesting unused sites identified by councils in England could support over one million properties.

Measures will also target affordable housing, with goals established for the provision of 275,000 new homes between 2015 and 2020 – an average of 55,000 new residences a year between 2018 and 2020. If achieved, this would be the fastest rate of affordable house building for 20 years.

Four London housing estates were also revealed to have been shortlisted for a share of £150m to support regeneration and provide new homes. Southwark’s Aylesbury Estate, Barnet’s Grahame Park, and Blackwell Reach and New Union Warf in Tower Hamlets could win backing.

Pickles said: ‘We’ve seen how getting the country building has been key to our long term economic plan – helping hard-working people become homeowners and creating thousands of construction jobs.

‘Today we’re offering a blueprint for how we maintain this momentum, supporting local communities to deliver the homes they want to see, making the best possible use of brownfield land and protecting the Green Belt.

‘Taken together with our plans for a new programme of affordable housebuilding, these measures could deliver over 200,000 new homes across the country.

Labour attacked the Coalition’s track-record on housing, claiming the Government’s ‘failure to build the homes our country needs’ had locked ‘thousands of families and young people’ from the housing market.

Labour’s shadow housing minister, Emma Reynolds, said: ‘This Government has presided over the lowest levels of house building in peacetime since the 1920s and has failed to make any meaningful progress on Garden Cities - instead of getting on and building them Ministers have spent nearly five years making empty announcements.’

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