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Housing minister kickstarts work on 22,400 homes

Housing Minister John Healey has announced that 270 stalled development projects across the country have been shortlisted for a share of £925m which could help get building work on 22,400 homes back on track and create 20,000 jobs.

Housing minister kickstarts work on 22,400 homes

The major cash injection is part of the Prime Minister’s Housing Pledge announced last month and the projects have been identified by the Homes and Communities Agency through the Kickstart programme.

However, the Government expects almost half the money to be repaid within five years, over one third will go to housing associations and others to help them manage the affordable housing and only 18% consists of direct grant to support developers.

Only developers who have accepted a realistic current market price for their land are eligible for Government investment.

All the projects will now go through a rigorous final assessment to determine which get the green light. Key to this will be their ability to start construction this year. But Healey said he wanted to see the first builders back on site in a matter of weeks and will call on successful developers to pull out all the stops so construction can restart as quickly as possible.

Over 8,600 of these homes would be for affordable rent or sale, with two thirds built to a standard well above that required by building regulations helping to cut CO2 emissions and reduce energy bills for the families that live in them.

The Kickstart programme is a key part of the Government’s investment to help combat the recession. It is designed to unlock housebuilding sites currently unable to proceed and support construction of high quality mixed tenure housing developments. Kickstart was announced in this year’s Budget and then expanded last month as part of the Prime Minister’s Housing Pledge as a centrepiece of Building Britain’s Future.

This funding will be used to make projects that have been mothballed in the current economic climate viable and is only being provided where developers cannot get support from other sources. It will boost development funding available, reduce levels of risk associated with projects and help support demand from homebuyers through measures such as Homebuy Direct.

Healey said: “We’ve pledged to use the power of Government investment to help Britain through the recession. This billion pound Kickstart programme will get stalled building work back on track, create jobs and help build the quality homes we need.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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