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The announcement last week (June 13) by the Chancellor and Mayor of London that 20 Housing Zones would be created in London, with a further 10 in the rest of the country, was very welcome, particularly as it doubles the number of Zones previously announced for London.

Why we should welcome the Housing Zones - by Michael Hill

Our scheme at Silver Point, Highmead in Edmonton where a new Housing Zone maybe created.

We’ve been arguing for some time that the scale of London’s housing supply problem is so great that it won’t begin to be solved by a handful of grand gestures, it needs a range of developments, large and small, in every part of every Borough.

There has already been some negative comment about the level of Government and GLA funding for the Housing Zone programme, with in theory just £20million available for each Zone, of which at least half is loan rather than grant. However, we are relatively relaxed about that, not least given the range of other funding programmes that are also likely to be available. Our main concern is whether the programme will be delivered in its entirety and to plan.

The three main challenges are:

1. Will a sufficient number of local authorities have the skills and resources to make things happen, particularly when the public spending cuts in local government intensify?

2. Will they create the sort of public-private partnerships envisaged in the Mayor’s prospectus, enabling partnership housebuilders like ourselves to really contribute to the fullest of our abilities and from the outset?

3. Will the GLA, and the HCA elsewhere, have the management resources to pro-actively support the work of these public-private partnerships, with up to 20 in operation at the same time?

We are very excited about this opportunity to work in partnership with local authorities, building on our programme of public private partnerships that have delivered over 35 neighbourhood and estate regeneration schemes across London and the South East over the last 20 years, in addition to partnerships with the GLA and HCA.

Our skills in place-making, planning and design, in land reclamation, in the creation of successful mixed-tenure and mixed-use communities, and so much more, backed by a proven commitment to working in partnership with local authorities, local communities and stakeholders, and we are very keen to make these available to this very important initiative.

What are your thoughts on the housing zones?

Michael Hill
New Business Director

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About this blog

Here you’ll find property related blog articles from the team at Countryside as well as independent experts. Expect regular tips and advice on topics such as buying a new home, interior and landscape design, setting up home, mortgages and finance, plus articles on architecture, the property market, regeneration and more.

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