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Housing brought forward with government 'de-risking' fund

Housing developments in Devon, Milton Keynes and Wokingham are to be the first to benefit from the government’s £225m “de-risking fund”, aimed at unlocking major housing projects.

Construction will be brought forward to 2013 with a £20m injection of funding for the new town of Cranbrook, near Exeter, to “enable local partners” to bring forward delivery.

The Cranbrook investment aims to create 1,500 jobs with a 6,300-home development and a new rail station with links to London and Exeter.

A new high street and transport infrastructure for the town centre and two schools are also included in the development.

The Cranbrook project is being delivered by a consortium of Hallam Land, Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey.

Cranbrook project manager Mike Owen said Phase II of the project would have been delayed without the funding.

“We can move ahead now and commit with confidence to the next key stages of the project and delivering further community infrastructure, and bringing forward much needed private and affordable homes.”

Housing minister Mark Prisk said the investment would boost jobs for young people and stimulate the local economy, giving the consortium behind the town “the confidence and resources” to drive forward the scheme.

The Fairfield development in Milton Keynes will see 6,000 new homes constructed “without the need for direct funding”, after discussions with the developer.

Cranbrook and Fairfield will together contribute 12,000 new homes.

£2.5m will also be made available to support a housing programme near Wokingham, enabling local partners to solve transport issues holding back 10,000 homes.

The projects are the first that will receive a boost from the government’s £225m fund, announced by Nick Clegg in November, to “de-risk” large housing developments that have been hampered by the economic climate.

Alongside funding to unlock construction, the schemes include measures to support co-operation with local councils and communities during planning and delivery.

According to Mr Prisk, the government is “looking carefully at how we can accelerate large, planned housing schemes that already have the support of local people”.

He added: “In the months ahead I will be announcing support for similar schemes. That means more investment, more jobs for our young people and more affordable homes.

“We have set aside considerable funding to assist large housing programmes like Cranbrook, and I would urge anyone with similar proposals to come forward and contact my department.”

The funding programme is being administered by the Homes and Communities Agency.

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