Brits Will Soon Be Able To Buy Old Council Buildings
The British public will soon get the right to buy old and crumbling council buildings to be able to turn them into new homes or businesses, under new plans announced by the government.
Construction News reports that in the same spirit of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘Right to Buy’, a new ‘Right to Regenerate’ will force local authorities and public bodies to sell unused land and derelict buildings if requested by members of the public.
The land could be ex-council housing, garages, or neglected plots, and the plan will mitigate the red tape to help solve the UK’s housing crisis, rather than developing on valuable greenbelt land. Purchasers, whether individuals or communities, can do whatever they want with it.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said today: “Right to Regenerate is the simple way to turn public land into public good, with land sold by default, unless there is a very compelling reason not to do so.”
He added that the government was ‘cutting through red tape’ so that communities can make better use of land and derelict buildings with the aim for more new homes, businesses and community assets.
“Millions of people will now be able to buy that empty property, unused garage or parcel of land and turn it into something good for them and their community,” he said.
However, under the proposals, owners of the land or property would need to have near plans for its development, meaning they can’t hold on to it forever and not use it. If the land is kept for too long without being used, they would be required to sell it again. The exact length of time and definition of what is underused land will be decided in the upcoming consultation.
The new process will be faster and more simple, and the Secretary of State will be able to make final decisions on any disputes. Applications will be available for everyone to see online.
Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government showed there were over 25,000 vacant council-owned homes and 100,000 empty council-owned garages last year.
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