The brownfield site funding is expected to deliver 5,800 new homes by March 2027

Brownfield site

Councils will be able to bid for a slice of a £60m pot to regenerate brownfield land from today, which is designed to help deliver 5,800 new homes by March 2027. 

As well as creating about 18,000 new jobs in housing and the construction sector, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities aims to support regeneration projects with the money. 

Minister for Housing Lucy Frazer said: “We want to turn neglected areas into thriving new communities, as part of our mission to level up the country.

“To do this we must prioritise brownfield land to deliver new homes for people, in the right places.”

The money is part of the £180m Brownfield Land Release Fund 2 (BLRF2), of which £35m was allocated in November last year to 41 councils, supporting 59 regeneration projects. Examples are towards the bottom of this story.

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at The British Property Federation, said the membership organisation would “encourage government to be more ambitious in supporting housing growth, where it is wanted, and that means a lot more of this type of funding and other initiatives will be needed”. This is because of the housing secretary Michale Gove’s decision to water down planning rules due to back-bench demands last month, and remove mandatory housing targets, Fletcher explained. 

“A good starting point would be additional planning resources being made available to those places that are supporting growth,” he added. He said that the brownfield land was nevertheless “welcome as it has the double-impact of delivering more homes, and often helping to revitalise underutilised land and buildings that can be a blight on the surrounding area”.

Claire Fallows, partner at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys, said: “As material costs soar and the financial burdens on development grow, brownfield development is becoming more and more expensive. So it is positive to see the government backing housebuilding through the second release of this fund, although continued investment is needed to make a real step change.

James Jamieson, chair of the Local Government Association, which is partnering on the release fund with its One Public Estate Programme, said: “Councils are at the forefront of housing delivery, with BLRF2 supporting them to meet the needs of their communities by releasing their surplus land for new, high quality, energy efficient homes.”

Applications for this round have to be in by 31 March 2023, with successful projects expected to be announced over the summer.

The rest of the Brownfield Land Release Fund 2 cash, which it is hoped will deliver 17,600 new homes in the next four years, will be allocated to councils over the next two years. 

Among the recipients of the £35m already allocated, which will see more than 2,200 homes build, including 800 affordable homes, were: 

  • Chorley -  £650,000 for 29 high-quality energy efficient new homes

  • Blackburn - £220,000 to unlock 30 new affordable homes and bungalows for independent living

  • Darlington – £223,000 to deliver 27 homes close to the new government hub at Darlington Economic campus.

The first Brownfield Land Release Fund saw £77m help councils release more 160 brownfield sites for around 7,750 new homes across England.