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Government launches housing zone prospectus

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has invited councils in England to team up with developers to establish new ‘housing zones’ outside London.

The prospectus has been designed to provide councils with guidance on how to apply for part of a £200m fund to establish a housing zone.

The initative was launched by Chancellor George Osborne in June and the government hopes the plan can deliver up to 200,000 new homes on brownfield sites using local development orders.

Secretary of State for the DCLG Eric Pickles said: ‘There is enough brownfield land to deliver up to 200,000 new homes across the country.

‘We need to seize this opportunity. But this will only work with cooperation - partnerships between local authorities, government and developers with everyone making a contribution. Creating a “something for something” deal will deliver much needed new housing and breathe new life into our towns and cities.’

New figures show housing starts rose by 22 per cent year-on-year to hit 137,780 in the 12 months to June 2014. In England, an additional 30,410 new housing starts were recorded, which is the largest year-on-year rise since 1975/76.

Despite the rise, the government is still lagging behind industry estimates that approximately 200,000 homes are needed each year to tackle the housing shortage.

To qualify for the funding councils are being asked to team up with a private investor and be able to demonstrate an ability to approve and develop new homes quickly.

Housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis said: ‘We need to build more homes in this country, but it’s also vital we protect the countryside that people rightly treasure. That’s why the Government is offering councils a share of £200m to prioritise development on brownfield land.’

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