The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) today launched the Housing Infrastructure Fund, a government capital grant programme of up to £2.3 billion, which is intended to help deliver up to 100,000 new homes in England.
A document published by the department today reveals that the pot - first announced in chancellor Philip Hammond’s 2016 Autumn Statement - will provide two forms of funding.
Local authorities can bid for up to £10 million for "marginal viability" proposals, the document said, to unblock housing sites held back because the costs of putting in the infrastructure and building the homes are too great.
"For these types of development, we will provide the final, or missing, piece of infrastructure funding to get additional sites allocated or existing sites unblocked quickly," the document said.
Meanwhile, "uppermost tier" authorities, including the Greater London Authority, combined authorities, and single and upper tier authorities outside London and combined authority areas, can bid for up to £250 million of forward funding, the document added.
"We will back a small number of strategic and high-impact infrastructure schemes," the document explained. "We may put in the first amount of funding, which then gives the market confidence to provide further investment and make more land available for development and future homes."
Higher levels of funding may be awarded to "exceptional bids that can demonstrate a robust case for widespread and transformational delivery of new homes", the document added.
It said that the fund is available over four years, from 2017/18 to 2020/21, and that the department will be looking for some marginal viability proposals that "can spend" in 2017/18.
The DCLG said that online bidding forms will be made available during July and that it is inviting local authorities to apply for the cash by Thursday 28 September 2017.
Launching the fund at a local government conference in Birmingham, communities secretary Sajid Javid said: "To build the homes this country needs, we need to deliver the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time.
"By investing in local infrastructure, we can help unlock building thousands of new homes in the areas where they are needed most."
An Introduction to the Housing Infrastructure Fund is available here.