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£2bn to Transform Homes and Derelict Land

Hundreds of thousands of new homes will be built on derelict and unused land through a £1.8 billion package of investment to regenerate land and level up the country, the Chancellor is expected to announce in today’s Budget and Spending Review.

The significant injection of new funding could transform brownfield land equivalent of 2,000 football pitches in towns and cities across England and deliver infrastructure including transport links, schools and new community spaces, regenerating local areas and supporting 50,000 jobs, while transforming unused and derelict land and protecting green spaces.

The investment will unlock 160,000 new homes, delivering on the government’s commitment to invest £10 billion in housing supply and improve affordability of homes for families across the country, driving the growth and regeneration of local areas. The funding will promote high quality, well-designed schemes and greener homes that support the Government’s Net Zero target by 2050.

As part of this, £300 million of locally-led grant funding will be awarded to Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Authorities to unlock smaller brownfield sites for housing, regenerating even more local areas while protecting the countryside.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “We are investing in better quality, safer, greener and more affordable homes to create thriving places where people want to live. One of my favourite pastimes is to go for walks in the park with my family, and I want to make sure everyone has green space on their doorstep to enjoy too. Transforming our unloved and neglected urban spaces will help protect our cherished countryside and green spaces, while improving the physical and mental health of our communities.”

 The Chancellor is also set to announce a new £9 million Levelling Up Parks Fund that will enable Local Authorities to transform over 100 neglected urban spaces across the UK into ‘pocket parks’, providing small green sanctuaries where they are needed most.

Roughly the size of a tennis court, these green spaces have helped to improve the physical and mental health of the communities using them, allowing locals to relax whilst their children are given a safe space to play in.

With over two and a half million people in the UK living further than a 10 minute walk from a green space, this fund is part of the government’s action to level up and will ensure those areas most in need are targeted.

The Chancellor is also expected to confirm £65 million of investment to support the digital transformation of the planning system, through development of new software. This will be rolled out during the first phase of delivery in up to 175 Local Authorities in England.

This investment is one component of the government’s planning reform programme, making the system simpler for communities to use and making brownfield development more straightforward.

This follows the announcement of £1 million of government funding to trial innovative digital tools to help local people have their say in the planning process across England. Funding has been allocated to 13 planning authorities under the PropTech Engagement Fund to test new digital initiatives to make the planning process more open and accessible and boost public engagement.

As well as unlocking 160,000 new homes through the transformation of brownfield sites, the Chancellor is expected to reconfirm the £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, the largest cash investment in a decade, which will help build up to a further 180,000 affordable homes from 2021-22 onwards.