House

A government-backed pilot scheme to unblock infrastructure delays on housing developments has been launched, with Anglian Water playing a key support role. 

The scheme in the South East will be led by the Housing and Finance Institute and bring together a developer, councils and a housing association, as well as, Anglian Water as a representative of the water and wider utilities industries, to identify and solve infrastructure problems that are currently delaying housebuilding.

Anglian Water is one of the UK’s largest water companies with a region stretching from the Humber to the Thames Estuary. It also operates in one of the driest and fasting growing parts of the UK, with population hubs including Norwich, Peterborough, Cambridge, and Milton Keynes, making it a perfect partner for the pilot.

The pilot scheme will focus on housing developments that have been delayed due to a lack of water, sewage, electricity, gas or road connectivity. The pilot comes as Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a £2.3bn fund to invest in infrastructure to speed up housebuilding. If successful, the approach will be rolled out to other areas across the UK in 2017.

An initial report is due by the end of January with the pilot due to run until May. The findings will be reported to housing minister Gavin Barwell and the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure, Conservative MP Stephen Hammond.

Chair, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and Group Director for Anglian Water, Mark Pendlington, said: “Water powers our businesses, our communities and the regional and national economy, and enabling sustainable growth is an essential part of our role to unlocking the potential in our region. This pilot brings together players from both private and public sectors to get to the bottom of the challenges and construct a way forward that will mean sustainable growth can be accelerated without any knock-on impact for existing customers and homeowners.”

As well as this government-backed pilot, Anglian Water is also bringing together utilities, developers and local authorities in Norfolk as part of its Norfolk Growth Forum. The forum will explore how best to unblock perceived or real barriers to growth, and be held at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on Tuesday 17th January.

Mark added: “We are bringing together local authorities, regulators, academics and senior representatives from Anglian Water to have a thought provoking and pacey discussion with a view to producing a road-map for improved collaboration throughout the planning process, as well as innovative methods of achieving real sustainable growth.”

Commenting on the South East pilot, housing minister Mr Barwell said: “I welcome this new pilot scheme and its focus on identifying ways of working together to overcome infrastructure barriers, and I look forward to seeing the initial report on its findings.”

The pilot scheme is being carried out with the help of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, the Home Builders Federation, Laing O’Rourke, Anglian Water, Kent County Council, Essex County Council, Keepmoat, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

ENDS