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Right to Contest expected to free up government land

A new drive has been announced to ensure land is used effectively, in a move that could free up more land for construction.The Right to Contest enables members of the public to contest the use of central government land and property and apply for its release.Previously, the public could only challenge local authorities regarding land that was vacant or under-used. The Right to Contest widens this to central government land and property, both vacant and occupied.It is expected the initiative will free up more land for housing. Surplus land with capacity for 62,000 homes has been released since 2010.The public sector holds a large amount of land which could potentially be developed. It is estimated that 40 per cent of developable land is currently under the ownership of the public sector. It also owns 27 per cent of brownfield sites.Chief treasury to the secretary Danny Alexander said it would not be fair of the government to hold on to land that could be put to better use providing housing or boosting economic growth."That is why from today we are accepting applications from the public contesting the use of public land and property. I would encourage people to submit an application if they know of any government sites which could be put to better economic use. We will sell them back to the community and local businesses at a fair price," he said.Francis Maude said the new proposals would help to tackle the budget deficit while ensuring the best use is made of available land. He said national treasures would not be up for sale but other sites which are vacant or under-used could be freed up.The government also announced the introduction of a searchable database of its property portfolio, covering real estate from motorway lay-bys to vacant airfields.As part of the Strategic Land Review, the government will deliver at least £5 billion land and property disposals between 2015 and 2020. 

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