We will soon have the rights to turn derelict buildings into homes and community assets. In a recent press release the Ministry of Housing said:
The public will be able to convert vacant plots of land and derelict buildings into new homes or community spaces, under plans announced 16 January 2021 by the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP.
The ‘Right to Regenerate’ proposals would make it easier to challenge councils and other public organisations to release land for redevelopment – helping communities make better use of public land and give a new lease of life to unloved buildings.
Underused public land could be sold to individuals or communities by default, unless there is a compelling reason the owner should hold onto it.
Under the proposals, public bodies would need to have clear plans for land in the near future, even if only a temporary use before later development – if the land is kept for too long without being used, they would be required to sell it.
These measures provide an opportunity for the public and local communities to redevelop and transform eyesores, taking control of unused local land or buildings and transforming them into something they want in their area.
This builds on the Government’s drive to encourage development on brownfield land and more beautiful buildings that are in line with local preferences.
The strengthened rights would also apply to unused publicly owned social housing and garages providing opportunities to transform the local housing stock.
Latest figures show there were over 25,000 vacant council owned homes and according to recent FOI data over 100,000 empty council-owned garages last year. The new process will be fast and simple, and the Secretary of State will act as an arbiter to ensure fairness and speedy outcomes in all cases.