Transformative Change for Cambridge, Central London, and Central Leeds
Regenerating 20 Places and Unlocking Brownfield Sites for 56,000 New Homes
In a landmark announcement today, the UK government revealed an ambitious long-term plan for housing, led by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities.
The plan promises a new era of regeneration, inner-city densification, and housing delivery across England, with a focus on creating beautiful, safe, and decent homes in areas with high-growth potential, in partnership with local communities.
Regeneration of Three English Cities
Building upon previous commitments to regenerate towns and cities, the Levelling Up Secretary announced plans to revitalize three major English cities – Cambridge, central London, and central Leeds.
The government aims to usher in transformational changes in these cities, addressing housing shortages and improving their economic prospects.
Cambridge: Europe’s Science Capital
Cambridge is set to be supercharged as Europe’s science capital with visionary plans to address the city’s challenges, including expensive property markets and limited lab space.
Moreover, the ambitious project envisions a new quarter featuring well-designed, sustainable neighborhoods with cutting-edge laboratories, commercial developments adapted to climate change, and ample green spaces.
To support the development, the government will use land value capture to finance infrastructure and affordable housing, ensuring the local area benefits from the increased land values resulting from the project.
Furthermore, a Cambridge Delivery Group, led by Peter Freeman and backed by £5 million, will be established to drive the project forward. The group will identify housing, infrastructure, and green space needs, and explore appropriate delivery mechanisms for long-term planning and land acquisition.
Immediate action will be taken to address water scarcity in the city, with the establishment of a Water Scarcity Working Group and funding of £3 million to improve water efficiency in existing homes and commercial properties.
London’s Docklands 2.0 Vision
East London will see a massive transformation with the Docklands 2.0 vision, which aims to create up to 65,000 homes across significant sites like Thamesmead, Beckton, and Silvertown.
The plan includes well-connected homes, new landscaped parkland, and better transport connections from east to west to attract local and private investment.
Moreover, the Affordable Homes Programme will be directed towards regeneration in London for the first time, with up to £1 billion in funding. An additional £1 million will be provided to support the Mayor’s efforts in driving housing delivery, including the release of industrial land for housing.
Leeds City Centre Regeneration
The government has committed to working closely with local partners to regenerate Leeds city center and explore the potential of a West Yorkshire mass transit system. Plans will identify barriers to housing growth sites in the city rim, aiming to deliver up to 20,000 new homes in the next decade.
Furthermore, support will be provided to adapt existing HS2 land safeguarded in Leeds City Centre to support economic growth and housing delivery.
Unlocking Brownfield Sites for 56,000 New Homes
To boost the housing supply and create vibrant communities, the government will invest £800 million from the £1.5 billion Brownfield, Infrastructure, and Land fund to unlock up to 56,000 new homes across England.
This investment will transform disused sites into thriving residential areas while preserving cherished green spaces. Additionally, Homes England will receive £550 million in funding, amounting to an overall investment of £1 billion through the reinvestment of receipts.
Empowering Communities and Ensuring Safety
The government emphasizes the importance of community involvement in housing development.
To achieve this, the government will establish the Office for Place in Stoke-on-Trent, leading a design revolution and ensuring new homes reflect local people’s preferences.
The government also plans to support councils in delivering high-quality, up-to-date local plans and reduce the bureaucracy associated with plan development.
Safety remains a priority, and the government commits to ensuring new homes are safe and suitable for habitation. The Building Safety Act 2022, with its accountability measures and protections for leaseholders, underpins these efforts.
In light of densification plans, the government intends to mandate second staircases in new residential buildings above 18 meters, with a focus on ensuring safety while not disrupting ongoing projects.
Progressing the Housing Revolution
The government plans to pass the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill later in the year, implementing reforms to the planning system and creating more sustainable homes in strategic locations.
Additionally, updates to the National Planning Policy Framework will further support development and regeneration in existing town and city centers.
The comprehensive housing plan aims to address the pressing housing needs in England while ensuring the active participation of communities in the decision-making process.
With a focus on regeneration, safety, and sustainable development, the government aims to create thriving neighborhoods and unlock the full potential of high-growth regions across the country.