This is a welcome announcement, even if these are only pilots on well established ‘flagship’ sites.
Some have taken the view that smaller developers, local authorities, housing associations ought to stick to self-build, custom-build and manufactured homes. If the commissioning processes at these sites are carried out bureaucratically, and pre-existing outline and reserve planning permissions are always required first then it will be difficult. But if assistance is provided with master planning and infrastructure delivery using ‘planning in principle’ then there may be very many positive opportunities.
What else is notable in this announcement? That 40% of the homes on these sites are likely to be Starter Homes: the new affordable housing. Looks like social rent, and other forms of conventional social housing or shared equity are on the way out!
In a radical new policy shift, not used on this scale since Thatcher and Heseltine started the Docklands, the government will directly commission the building of homes on publicly owned land. This will lead to quality homes built at a faster rate with smaller building firms – currently unable to take on big projects – able to get building on government sites where planning permission is already in place.