17 April 2019
Through its geovation accelerator programme, which awards grants to help Ordnance Survey and HM Land Registry make better use of their data, the Government has announced funding for 7 property and geospatial start-ups.
This includes RenKap, an online marketplace working to alleviate the housing crisis by scaling the delivery of affordable homes.
Working alongside development professionals, RenKap will deliver an online platform where housing associations and local authorities can upload their unused small sites. Through the platform, RenKap will review, procure and manage the delivery of high-quality homes, inviting builders and off-site manufacturers to bid to deliver them.
The National Federation of Builders (NFB) welcomes RenKap’s ingenuity and motivation and believes small sites are vital in solving the housing crisis.
Local authorities, who are responsible for allocating housing sites, have been rather poor in enabling small sites and have instead focussed on meeting housing need with large, often controversial, sites. They have also opposed the introduction of small sites registers, lobbied against a minimum percentage of small sites in local plans, and routinely disregarded small brownfield sites. Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said:
“Small sites are built more quickly and are already part of our communities. They are also delivered by SMEs who train around 80% of construction apprentices and employ within 15 miles of their head office. They help the industry grow and deliver more sustainable employment. We need more of them.”
Rico Wojtulewicz of the House Builders Association (HBA) said:
“Local authorities have resisted many attempts to get more small sites delivered. Any opportunity to get an increased number of them through planning is a major step forward in solving the housing crisis.”