Chancellor George Osborne said in his 2015 budget statement that the government was confirming the introduction of the first 20 housing zones, along with the extension of eight enterprise zones across Britain. There are also to be new zones in Plymouth and Blackpool.
Designation as a housing zone means these areas will be able to benefit from a share of up to £200m recoverable investment from government, cheaper borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board, and priority access to expert planning and technical support from the ATLAS service run by the Homes & Communities Agency.
The first 20 housing zones are:
- Thurrock Thames-Side Towns (Thurrock Council)
- Elstree Way Corridor (Hertsmere Borough Council)
- Slyfield Area Regeneration Project (Guildford Borough Council)
- Greater Gainsborough Housing Zone (West Lindsey District Council)
- Stoke City Centre Renaissance (Stoke City Council)
- Derby City Housing Zone (Derby City Council)
- Gedling Colliery (Gedling Borough Council)
- Harworth, North Nottinghamshire (Bassetlaw District Council)
- Aire River Growth Corridor (Wakefield Metropolitan District Council)
- York Central Housing Zone (City of York Council)
- Exemplar Neighbourhood (Gateshead Council)
- Preston Housing Zone (Preston City Council)
- South Bristol HZ (Bristol City Council)
- Whitehill and Bordon (East Hampshire District Council)
- Weston Super Mare (North Somerset Council)
- Ashchurch (Tewkesbury Borough Council)
- Hinkley Housing Zone (Sedgemoor District Council)
- Former Powerstation Site, Poole (Borough of Poole Council)
- Foxhill (Bath and North East Somerset Council)
- Gloucester City Growth Zone (Gloucester City Council)
The government is also looking to add two new sites to the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone in Kent, while extensions have been rubberstamped for MIRA Technology Park in the Midlands, Tees, Humber, Leeds, Mersey Waters, Manchester and Oxford.
The British Property Federation said that it welcomed plans to create the first 20 housing zones outside of London. Chief executive Melanie Leech said: “The federation was an early proponent of housing zones and we are pleased to see their rollout and the Government’s increased ambition to introduce them on brownfield sites.
“Spending cuts have meant that support for brownfield development all but disappeared during the recession. Housing zones are welcome recognition that we can deliver significant amounts of desperately-needed housing on brownfield land, but that this will often need both central government support and clarity of purpose at local level.”