Agency bought 19 sites worth £180m in last financial year, with deals signed right up to this month

Homes England is continuing to invest in development sites as it attempts to bolster the housing market in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Stephen Kinsella web

Stephen Kinsella

The government agency announced today that it bought 19 sites worth £180m in the last financial year, with several of the acquisitions completing in the run-up to April 5.

The land, spread across the country, has the capacity for 5,000 new homes, it said.

Stephen Kinsella, Homes England’s chief land and development officer, said it demonstrated the agency was taking a long-term view of housing demand in the context of the pandemic and that it was continuing to develop a strong pipeline of projects to support the recovery of the housebuilding sector.

“As a master developer, it’s crucial that we continue to create development opportunities and provide a pipeline of sites for housebuilders of all sizes, despite the challenging situation the industry is facing,” he added.

“In the long-term we will still have a housing shortage, so by continuing to acquire difficult sites and addressing the barriers which have previously stopped them moving into production, we’re making sure we can deliver on the agency’s mission to accelerate the construction of new homes while addressing the short-term disruption caused by the impact of coronavirus.”

The sites include:

:: Panshanger Aerodrome in Welwyn Garden City, a 37ha site earmarked for one of the region’s largest housing developments with the capacity for 815 homes. Homes England said 30% of the new homes were likely to be affordable and the development would also include a primary school, a community centre and self-build plots. The agency will deliver the infrastructure on site before marketing the site to developers in parcels, accelerating the delivery of new homes.

:: Montague Street, the fourth parcel of land it has acquired in Digbeth which will create one of the largest development sites in the centre of Birmingham with a total capacity for 1,000 new homes and 25,000sq m of employment space.

:: Brislington Meadows in Bristol, a 10ha site with the capacity for 300 homes.

:: An 81ha site in Darlington earmarked for 800 homes as part of Burtree Garden Village. Homes England will work with lead developer Hellens Group on the project and with adjacent landowners on site-wide infrastructure.

:: Some 65ha just south of Rugby where 900 homes could be built as part of the wider South West Rugby expansion.