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Investment pledged to unlock stalled housing developments

A new fund has been unveiled by the government to ensure work starts on as many as 85 new housing sites where development has been agreed.The £3 million investment, launched today (July 30th) by housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis, could accelerate the provision of around 25,000 new homes.It has been set up to help councils overcome planning issues that can cause delays and prevent builders from starting work on site. Potential barriers to development that the money will help to tackle include completing financial agreements and signing-off conditions attached to planning permissions.Priority will be given to councils where the largest number of housing developments have recently been agreed, as well as those that show they can achieve the best value for money by enabling faster starts on sites.Around £50,000 is expected to be given to each council that mounts a successful bid for the investment.Mr Lewis said that when the present government came to power, housebuilding levels were at their lowest since the 1920s.He added that the coalition's reforms have "got Britain building". "Now, the challenge is to get work started on sites where development has been agreed as soon as possible," he continued."Today's £3 million fund will do just that, getting work started on as many as 85 sites, creating jobs as well as up to 25,000 new homes."As a result of the coalition's reforms, planning permission was granted on 216,000 new homes during 2013 and housebuilding has reached its highest rate since 2007.The government says its attempts to overcome planning barriers are working, with figures from Glenigan revealing a steady fall in the number of homes with planning permission "on hold or shelved", from 79,604 in January 2011 to 50,050 in June this year.Measures in the infrastructure bill on planning conditions will further reduce the time it takes for work to start on sites with planning permission, while a number of schemes have been set up to increase development finance to both small and large builders. 

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