The funding has been awarded to Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and is the first to be agreed through the Government’s £450 million Accelerated Construction Programme.

The programme was launched to accelerate the delivery of local authority housing schemes and encourages the use of innovative construction methods and a wider range of builders, in particular small and medium sized companies.

The three sites to benefit from the funding include two town centre sites in Hatfield and one in Welwyn Garden City.

In Hatfield, two sites outlined as areas of opportunity in the 2030+ Renewal Framework will receive nearly £4.5m.

The money will help bring forward plans for 1 and 3-9 Town Centre, earmarked for new homes, shops and restaurants, with the remainder being used to develop plans for new homes on Link Drive.

Work is due to start on the first site at Hatfield town centre in June 2019, with each development including a target of 30 percent affordable housing.

Stephen Kinsella, Executive Director for Land at Homes England, said:

“I’m delighted to see this first accelerated construction grant agreement being signed. The funding will enable Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council to develop their ambitious proposals for these three sites and will help to deliver much needed new homes for local people.”

Cllr Duncan Bell, the council’s Executive Member for Resources, said:

“Creating vibrant, bustling town centres that are fit for the future is at the heart of our vision for each of these sites. The funding from Homes England means that we can now undertake the work necessary to get these sites ready for us to build new homes and we are looking forward to developing detailed designs and plans to share with the community.”

Cllr Tony Kingsbury, Leader of the Council, said:

“We are really proud to be the first local authority to secure funding from this programme. The schemes will not only deliver much needed new homes for the area, but will also bring increased footfall to our town centres and support the local economy to thrive.”