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Housing minister calls for more sites for SME builders

The housing minister has called for councils to release more sites for small and medium-sized builders. 

Speaking in front of the Communities and Local Government Committee, Gavin Barwell said the country was “too dependent” on large developers to build homes.

He said it was “critical” for local authorities to release more land that was appropriate for small and medium sized builders.

“We are far too dependent in this country on a small number of large developers,” Mr Barwell said.

“The blunt truth about this is if authorities are not giving small builders sites that they can build on, you shouldn’t be surprised that we have a market dominated by large builders.”

The minister said the government’s Accelerated Construction programme would help “diversify the market” and was something central government was “really passionate about”.

Under the programme, the government will subdivide large plots of surplus government land and go into joint ventures with small and medium sized builders to develop them.

Although the scheme will, for now, be rolled out on central government sites, Mr Barwell said local governments had given a “positive response” when asked for expressions of interest in a potential broadening of the programme.

Mr Barwell told Construction News earlier this month that a contractor had already secured work through the Accelerated Construction programme.

He added that the programme would “make a significant contribution” in pushing through modular construction methods.

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