The places that have shared £717 million of Housing Infrastructure Fund money

Proposals for a 10,000-home development in west London and a 13,400-home garden town in Oxfordshire are among the four projects that have been allocated a total of £717 million from the government's Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF).

An aerial view of Old Oak Common. Pic: OPDC
An aerial view of Old Oak Common. Pic: OPDC

The HIF, which aims to deliver infrastructure to ease the construction of new homes, was launched in July 2017 and now totals £5.5 billion.

This week, chancellor Philip Hammond announced that £717 million would be allocated to projects in west London, the Oxford-Cambridge growth corridor and Cheshire.

Below, Planning details where the money is going.

Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation - Old Oak North, west London

The Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) is the recipient of the largest individual sum, having been allocated £250 million to support its proposals for 10,000 homes close to the High Speed Two (HS2) railway station being built at Old Oak Common.

The corporation said the money will be used to "assemble land, design and build vital roads and utilities infrastructure" necessary to develop the 650-hectare Old Oak North scheme, adding that the money must be spent by March 2023.

OPDC chair Liz Peace said: "The £250m injection will unlock opportunities for public and private sector collaboration, making these significant regeneration opportunities a reality and with that, bringing about significant public benefit."

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said 250,000 people are expected to travel through the area every day when the HS2 station opens in 2026 and that the funding is intended to help create "a new landmark destination in the capital".

Last month, the project was the subject of a row between local landowner Cargiant and the OPDC after the second hand car dealer described the plans as "unviable, unaffordable and undeliverable".

Described as the UK's largest regeneration project, OPDC aims to deliver a total of 25,500 new homes and 65,000 new jobs at Old Oak Common. 

Cambridge City Council - Northern Fringe East, Cambridgeshire

Plans to relocate a waste water recycling centre in Cambridgeshire to make way for 8,625 homes in a new "low carbon community" have been allocated £227 million.

The facility, operated by Anglian Water, is located between Cambridge North train station and the Cambridge science and innovation parks.

Consultation is currently taking place on a North East Cambridge Area Action Plan, which describes the proposed development as "a socially and economically inclusive, thriving, and low-carbon place for innovative living and working". The document says relocation of the water treatment facility "would provide the catalyst for an ambitious regeneration of the area".

Cambridge City Council said Anglian Water will soon begin a consultation process for relocating the water recycling centre.

Oxfordshire County Council - Access to Didcot Garden Town, Oxfordshire

A series of infrastructure improvements intended to facilitate development of the 13,411-home Didcot Garden Town have been allocated £218 million.

Oxfordshire County Council said the money will be used to fund projects including a widening of the A4130, a river crossing between the A415 and the A4130, and a bypass at Clifton Hampden.

The council said in a statement: "The package of measures has previously been identified in local plans to deliver growth across South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse districts and is linked with the Housing and Growth Deal which will help support the delivery of 100,000 new homes in Oxfordshire by 2031."

Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: "This is excellent news and shows the government recognises the importance of this area locally and nationally and the strength of our proposals to enable and sustain expected growth."

South Oxfordshire District Council was previously a recipient of a £6.2 million government grant for construction of a road linked to the garden town project.

Cheshire East Council - Garden Village at Handforth

Cheshire East Council has been allocated £21.7 million to fund infrastructure relating to a proposed 1,675-home garden village on a 114-hectare site at Handforth.

The local authority said the money will be used for "upgrading and improvement of existing roads, provision of a new village high street and a new footbridge".

The Garden Village at Handforth is allocated as a key strategic development site in the Cheshire East local plan. In January 2017, the project was one of 14 garden village proposals to receive government backing.

A supplementary planning document for the development, adopted by the council in December last year, describes plans for a "pleasant and sustainable community" with "extensive green corridors, small country-park style spaces, formal sports pitches, playgrounds,community allotments and orchards".

About the HIF

The HIF was launched with an initial budget of £2.3 billion in July 2017. A series of further funding announcements in November 2017 means a total of £5.5 billion has since been earmarked for allocation under the scheme.

The fund is split into two streams: bids of up to £10 million are accepted for ‘marginal viability’ proposals from lower-tier councils, while bids of up to £250 million for ‘forward funding’ proposals can be submitted by upper-tier authorities.

The projects allocated funding this week are among 44 areas that were shortlisted to receive forward funding grants in March 2018. 

Planning understands that the final bidding window for the HIF closes on 22 March 2019 and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government expects to make further funding decisions over the coming months.


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