Stephen Barter, chair of real estate advisory at KPMG, comments on the package of measures in today’s Budget which will help regenerate town centres and provide a range of new homes.
“With the majority of today’s infrastructure announcements focusing on the Northern Powerhouse, there is a hidden gem to be found in the Budget document, which will see a huge boost for the UK’s town centres. The Government has announced that the Homes and Communities Agency will work in partnership with Network Rail and local authorities to provide land around stations for housing, commercial development and regeneration.
“While more detail on the sites involved is still to be announced, this is a significant move to enable stations to become regeneration and growth catalysts for their surrounding neighbourhoods, which are often underused and unloved areas of town centres. With many such areas no longer the thriving retail hubs they once were, they are prime for development and could play a key part in helping solve the housing crisis. And it isn’t going too far to say that if we can make these parcels of land vibrant, mixed use, desirable places to live, work and to invest in, we will transform quality of life as well as the UK economy.
“Other measures in a similar vein include the support to establish garden villages and market towns, the launch of the Starter Homes Land Fund prospectus, and measures to speed up the planning system – all of which are welcome moves towards providing the homes this country needs.”
*Stephen Barter has produced two major reports on town centres (2013, 2015) and has worked closely with the government on shaping relevant initiatives.
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