As of the eighth of January 2015, the government has announced a shortlist of areas to become housing zones, designed to alleviate pressure on the housing market and encourage development.
The Government Housing Zone shortlist is a selection of twenty-nine areas of the United Kingdom outside London which have bid to become a 'Housing Zone'. A Housing Zone will be one of ten areas within the United Kingdom that will make it easier and faster to build on urban sites that have been previously built on ('brownfield sites'). Hopefully, this will help contribute to the UK's historical issues with making full use of its brownfield sites.
This is linked with many other recent government planning policy decisions designed to make redevelopment and use of land easier to arrange, including modifications to permitted development rights and the right to contest government use of land. Part of the government's overall plan to get the British economy back on track is increased development, especially increased housing development, so this could be an important step in that direction.
Image by JD Hancock
What Areas Are On The Government Housing Zone Shortlist?
The following areas can also be found on the government website. They're reproduced here, but bear in mind that some of the proposed areas are fairly broad and diffuse, and all councils will have different specifics in mind for their area.
- Thurrock Thames-Side Towns (Thurrock council)
- Elstree Way Corridor (Hertsmere borough council)
- Slyfield Area Regeneration Project (Guildford borough council)
- Suffolk Rural Growth Housing Zone (Babergh and Mid-Suffolk councils)
- Greater Gainsborough Housing Zone (West Lindsey district council)
- Coseley Housing Zone (Dudley Metropolitan borough council)
- Bescot Friar Park (Sandwell Metropolitan borough council)
- Stoke City Centre Renaissance (Stoke City council)
- Derby City Housing Zone (Derby City council)
- Gedling Colliery (Gedling borough council)
- Harworth, North Nottinghamshire (Bassetlaw district council)
- Aire River Growth Corridor (Wakefield Metropolitan district council)
- North East Lincolnshire Town Centre Living (North East Lincolnshire council)
- York Central Housing Zone (City of York council)
- Hoyland and Dearne Valley Housing Zone, Barnsley (Barnsley Metropolitan district council)
- Exemplar Neighbourhood (Gateshead council)
- Sheffield – Rotherham Don Valley Housing Zone (Sheffield City council)
- Preston Housing Zone (Preston City council)
- Penine-Lancashire (Blackburn with Darwen borough council)
- Wirral Waters – North Bank East (Wirral Metropolitan borough council)
- South Bristol HZ (Bristol City council)
- Whitehill and Bordon (East Hampshire district council)
- Weston Super Mare Town Centre (North Somerset council)
- Weston Links/Avoncrest (North Somerset council)
- Ashchurch (Tewkesbury borough council)
- Hinkley Housing Zone (Sedgemoor district council)
- Former Powerstation Site, Poole (borough of Poole council)
- Foxhill (Bath and North East Somerset council)
- Gloucester City Growth Zone (Gloucester City council)
In addition to these housing zones situated outside London, there will be another twenty housing zones created inside London.
The ten zones outside London that are eventually chosen from this shortlist will have access to significant funding, as well as cheap loans and access to high quality expert advice.
A housing zone will contain between hundreds and thousands of homes, with larger zones containing around two thousand homes and the very largest exceeding even that generous figure.
Reception Of The Housing Zone Shortlist
So far, the mainstream press reception of the housing zone shortlist has been cautiously optimistic. The story has mostly been taken up by small local newspapers, and since the areas proposed for redevelopment are often hard-pushed for resources and employment, it's generally very welcome.
Special interest groups such as the Get Britain Building campaign and Modern Masonry Alliance have been more enthusiastic, with the CEO of the Modern Masonry Alliance saying
The Housing Minister’s continued commitment to “Get Britain Building” is very much welcomed. We are particularly pleased with this initiative that will help to re-balance our dependency on the South East and we hope will result in greater participation from local builders who are critical to the delivery of 200,000 homes per annum by 2020.
Friendly Atmosphere For Developers
The last few years have resulted in a particularly positive atmosphere for developers, and an increased emphasis on councils and authorities working with developers rather than against them.
This latest change comes hot on the heels of the £3 billion-plus "New Homes Bonus", another boon for local councils trying to provide a good service despite trying times.
If you're considering making a significant development on your property, it may be a good time!
If you're interested in legal advice for your commercial or private development, get in touch to see if we can help.