Whitehall to release land for homes

Up to 100,000 new homes could be built by 2015 under plans announced last week by housing minister Grant Shapps.

Shapps says by this autumn, every government department with significant land banks will publish plans to release thousands of acres of previously developed land to house builders.

The Public Expenditure Committee, chaired by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, will go through each department’s plans to make sure every possible site is made available for house building.

Property specialists from across government will work with each department and challenge them to release as much land as they can.

Shapps says: “As one of the country’s biggest landlords, the government has a critical role to play in making sites available for developers so we can get the homes this country needs built.”

Mark Clare, chief executive of Barratt Developments, says: “This is a big step in the right direction. The rapid release of publicly-owned land has the potential to be a catalyst for increasing the supply of land for new homes during the next few years.”