January saw the release of £60 million in funding as part of the Brownfield Land Release Fund – but what is the release fund, how impactful is it, and how will it help us preserve our green spaces and make the most of unused brownfield land? Plus find out how to act if you’re sitting on brownfield land to make the most of the fund.
Brownfield land is previously developed land that is or was occupied by a permanent structure, but is currently not in use – this may constitute derelict land, redundant industrial sites and abandoned buildings.
Brownfield land is prime for redevelopment as it provides a viable alternative to greenfield land, typically which is undeveloped land that contributes to biodiversity, such as farmland, forests or moor land but can also include green spaces that represent space, privacy and exclusivity for other properties. Developers and government bodies are under immense pressure to preserve as much greenfield land as possible, as these plots are becoming scarce in towns and cities. There are regulations in place to ‘prevent urban sprawl’ that could see the number of green spaces wane even further. Brownfield plots provide a fantastic alternative to greenfield plots – developers and landowners alike already know that these plots are prime for construction, as they have already been constructed upon in the past or used for commercial purposes, and they allow for the preservation of untouched green spaces.
The Brownfield Land Release Fund 2 is a government initiative backed by the Department For Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the One Public Estate. Overall, there is £180 million in funding available to councils across England to help them repurpose and rejuvenate their brownfield sites. The first round of BLRF2, which launched in June 2022, gave £35 million in funding to councils across England and released land to construct over 2,200 homes in the next four years. This second round will make £60 million worth of funding available.
The project can be traced back to the Land Release Fund in 2018 which awarded funding to projects that were encountering barriers for residential unit construction, helping to expedite the construction of 7,000 homes.
This round of funding for the BLRF2 is set to not only result in the construction of 5,800 new homes, but will also provide approximately 18,000 jobs for the delivery, supply chain and construction of the housing. By utilizing brownfield sites, and tackling the often difficult bureaucracy that comes with the construction of new homes, the government and local councils hope that this funding will bring an abundance of new affordable housing to England and help the government reach their target of constructing 300,000 new homes per year.
Beyond converting derelict and abandoned sites into thriving communities, the opportunities presented to those who successfully obtain funding are immense. Overall, the entire Brownfield Land Release Funding project will provide over 17,000 homes and over 56,000 jobs. Recent successes from previous rounds of funding include £650,000 worth of funding in Chorley, Lancashire which is set to revive a former theatre site by instead using the plot to build a set of ultra-efficient eco homes. A few miles away from Chorley is Blackburn, which has received £220,000 to provide affordable homes for senior residents, and up north in Darlington, £223,000 has been provided to construct 27 new homes.
The second round of funding is currently open for applications. If you believe you have a good proposal, the Land team at Centrick would love to hear from you and can help walk you through options and avenues to explore for your land or you can visit the website linked here to submit a proposal. Once your proposal has been sent, it will go through three assessment stages to see if it fits the specified eligibility criteria and gateway criteria, before being put into a project prioritisation criteria which will assess the potential value of your proposed project.
Round two of applications was opened on January 18th 2023, and is scheduled to close just before midnight on March 31st 2023. An announcement is scheduled for summer 2023 to reveal which proposals have been successful.
If you are successful enough to have your proposal accepted, you will receive funding offers in summer 2023 and will be required to sign a grant funding agreement. This will provide more details of your funding award and any delivery arrangements for your funded project.
Centrick’s team of experts have been providing land and development consultancy services for years, helping land owners and developers to achieve their goals with our acute understanding of the often complex bureaucracy, rules and regulations surrounding land ownership. We’re here to help you understand your options when it comes to your plot and realise the potential of your land – for further information, contact our team below:
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