HCA launches development and land disposal strategy

The document summarises the HCA’s landholdings, explains the principles for making disposal decisions and sets out an indicative pipeline of sites that have been identified for disposal over the next two years.

The strategy explains that the HCA’s key aims will be: transparency about its sites and disposal principles; not to hold onto land longer than necessary; make sure land is disposed to support local plans and ambitions; and land is transferred to end users as quickly as possible. The Agency will also aim to carry out disposals on terms such as a deferred payment model (Build Now, Pay Later) that promote development, economic activity and growth.

Pat Ritchie, chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency said:

"Key to the success of economic growth is access to a supply of development land for the creation of new homes and employment opportunities. Through the Local Investment Planning process with partners we have been considering how best we can use the HCA’s own landholdings to help local areas achieve their ambitions and we wanted to set out our approach in an overall strategy.

"As part of our development and land disposal strategy we have also published a list of HCA-owned sites that will be brought to market over the next two years.  This includes sites where we have identified that disposal can be accelerated, which should allow 3,000 extra homes to start on site over the next four years.   We’re accelerating them using a variety of tools to ensure that more people can benefit from improved communities and new homes."

The sites listed in the strategy for acceleration will be brought to the market either through the HCA’s Delivery Partner Panel, through an OJEU notice or local disposal and are currently at different stages of the preparation process. The full development and land disposal strategy document can be downloaded from the HCA website from today.

The 3,000 extra homes to be delivered through the HCA’s accelerated land programme are in addition to an expected figure of 8,000 homes to be delivered on HCA land over the next four years.

In March 2011 the HCA announced some early sites for accelerated disposal and an update on their progress is below:

•Park Prewett, Basingstoke – Making good progress on legal discussions with preferred developer and expect to sign contracts by July.
•Blackwall Reach, Tower Hamlets – In the process of consulting residents and other stakeholders prior to the submission of the outline planning application. A public exhibition was held on 3rd and 4th of June and a series of road shows for stakeholders is running throughout the month. There are also smaller design workshops being held across the estate to engage with residents on design matters.
•Ransome Road, Northampton – Received Expressions of Interest from the DPP. Sifting briefs have been issued alongside proceeding with works on site in the form of a first phase of remediation and enabling delivery of junction works..
•Cotgrave, Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire – Expression of Interest submitted to the DPP (on 24 May) and holding a developer Open Day on 27 June.
•Croppings, Lightmoor, Telford – Planning application has now been submitted.
•Cronton, Knowsley, and Haig former coalfields and Greenwich Ecology Park – Now transferred to The Land Trust.
•Hemel Hempstead – Due diligence being completed before being brought to market.

Other sites helped to accelerate (on HCA and other public partners’ land) using the approaches outlined in the development and land disposal strategy include:

•Fairmile, Oxfordshire – An HCA-owned 40 ha former hospital site beside the river Thames in Cholsey, Oxfordshire, Fairmile is being transformed with the creation of 354 new homes including refurbished houses and apartments within the retained Grade II hospital buildings. There will be a mix of commercial, community and leisure facilities as well as landscaped grounds that will be made accessible to the public. The first new homes are due to be completed by developer Linden Homes this month and it is expected that the whole scheme will be complete by 2014. This is an early pilot for ‘Build Now, Pay Later’.
•Bentley, Doncaster – A former coalfield site which will deliver 170 new homes. The scheme has detailed planning permission and a preferred developer is shortly to be appointed following a selection process using the HCA’s Delivery Partner Panel.
•Three Score, Bowthorpe, Norwich – Norwich City Council has long-term plans to create a range of public realm and youth facilities, plus much-needed housing in the city.   Three Score is a key housing site for around 1,200 homes plus amenities, and is one of the developments being progressed as a result of a collaboration and investment agreement between Norwich City Council and the HCA, who provided £8m in funding. The Agency provided advice including detailed financial appraisals which informed a range of delivery options and enabled the appropriate location of the first phase of 184 homes to be identified. The Delivery Partner Panel was used to shortlist developers and the site has been accelerated by approximately six months to one year earlier than it would have been through the normal procurement process and a developer has now been selected.
•Middle Deepdale, Scarborough – ATLAS (The HCA’s Advisory Team for Large Scale Applications) has provided enabling support to help Scarborough Council evolve a joint planning and development strategy for a key site part-owned by the council for over 1,000 homes. Enabling support has included helping partners establish a vision for the site, together with technical support in areas such as design, sustainability, viability and project management. The team is currently helping parties to prepare a planning application to take the site into the next stage of delivery.
•Aykley Heads, Durham – The HCA has provided enabling support through its ATLAS team to Durham County Council and other public sector partners to evolve a planning and delivery strategy for this important site, partly owned by the council in Durham City. Enabling support from the ATLAS team has focussed on advising on the most effective planning strategy for the site, including consideration of the evidence base needed to set the basis for future delivery.

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