Fund launched to get stalled sites back on track

The £225million pot is part of the wider £474million Local Infrastructure Fund, designed to stimulate economic development and get sites moving.

As part of this, the minister announced a £24.7million loan to Reading University to help unlock a large-scale site in Wokingham near Reading.

The Wokingham site, planned with the local community, will deliver 2500 new homes, as well as two primary schools, a neighbourhood centre, shops, park and ride facilities and a new specialist Science and Research Park.

The investment will be used to build a new access road and bridge to link the new development to Wokingham town centre itself.

Wokingham is the fourth large-scale site that the government has helped to accelerate since August last year. Ministers have also helped schemes at Eastern Quarry, Kent; Cranbrook, Exeter and Fairfield, Milton Keynes.

Prisk said: "I’m delighted that today’s £25million investment in the future of Wokingham will help tackle the transport troubles that are stopping the building of 2500 homes in its tracks. But with dozens of similar stalled sites across the country, I’m determined to do more.

"That’s why today, I’m calling on councils and developers with large-scale, locally supported stalled developments to come forward and make the most of the government help available to get builders back to work and the homes we need built. With funding on offer in the form of recoverable loans, this is a win-win for the taxpayer – delivering thousands of homes and getting more bang for our buck."

Colin Molton, Homes and Communities Agency Executive Director for the South and South West, said: "Wokingham needs more homes to support the growth planned for the Borough, but this can’t happen without the investment in the Eastern Relief Road that the minister has announced today.

"This will play a vital part in supporting growth in a way that helps develop sustainable communities by providing a better road network and hundreds of new jobs and 2500 new homes to Wokingham.

"We have worked hard to bring this complex agreement together in a very tight timeframe. Now the hard work really starts and we will be focused on ensuring that everything is in place so that work on building the new road can begin soon."

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