Saturday, 04 July 2015

Details of £420m development fund revealed

The Homes and Communities Agency will seek to recover all investments made as part of its £420 million scheme to kickstart stalled housing projects by 2018.

As reported by Inside Housing earlier this month, the Get Britain Building Fund will include a combination of loans and equity investments, with no grant funding. Loans will be offered at ‘commercial rates’, with the HCA hoping to be repaid by March 2018.

The government today released details of the fund in a prospectus, which called for bids for funding from developers with ‘shovel ready schemes’ in England, capable of restarting on site in 2012 and completing by December 2014. Eligible sites must be have at least 25 homes.

Bids will be accepted from all private sector developers, but not councils unless they bid as part of a joint venture with a private partner.

Developments in London will be offered 20 per cent of the total funding available through the scheme.

Pat Ritchie, chief executive at the HCA, said: ‘This is an exciting new programme, which will boost the house building industry, local economies and the supply of new homes for the areas that need them. I’m sure this opportunity will be of interest to all developers, but we have made the process is as simple as possible to make it easy for smaller developers to bid.

‘I am looking forward to receiving the expressions of interest from the industry and the HCA will be taking a robust commercial approach working with local authorities to invest in the right schemes that deliver the greatest benefits for local communities and the industry.’

In his ministerial foreword to the prospectus, housing minister Grant Shapps said he was ‘particularly keen that small and medium sized builders can ask for funds’.

‘We need to get builders back on “shovel ready” sites,’ he added. ‘Work has stopped on too many building sites that local people walk by everyday – people who are in desperate need of new homes.’

Bidders have until 30 January to submit an expression of interest, which the HCA will assess alongside local authorities. Shortlisted projects will then enter a due diligence process before contracts are signed next May.

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