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Government releasing unused public land

Whitehall departments have freed up enough brownfield land to build 68,000 homes, according to figures released by the government.Over 430 sites have been sold across the UK. Some 135,000 jobs are expected to be supported by the construction projects enabled by the freeing up of land - two jobs for every house built. The government aims to release enough land for 100,000 homes by 2015. It claims the latest figures show it is on course to meet this target, with over two-thirds of the programme already completed. Property specialists have been working closely with Whitehall departments to ensure they can deliver on the commitment. Recently, the government revealed that the rate of housebuilding is now at its highest level since 2007. The construction boom is benefiting smaller firms in the supply chain. Housing minister Kris Hopkins said more public land needs to be released to maintain momentum and urged councils to free up more land for development. "The government is a major landholder and hard-working taxpayers expect us to use these assets effectively," he commented."That's why we have already delivered on our promise to release thousands of acres of brownfield land, the same number of homes as are in the whole of Blackpool, to protect the greenbelt and build new homes where they are needed."Several initiatives are already in place to help free up land for development. The Right to Contest was updated earlier this year, to give the public more powers to challenge the government about land and property they feel could be put to better use, and ask for it to be sold.The Right to Reclaim Land also enables the public to challenge councils to release land and property.In addition, the government plans to introduce a new search engine which will provide details of its entire property portfolio, covering real estate from motorway lay-bys to vacant airfields.According to independent estimates, the public sector holds up to 40 per cent of land suitable for development and around 27 per cent of brownfield land that is appropriate for new housing. 

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