Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF)

In the summer of 2017, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced a national £2.3 billion investment in infrastructure for new housing through the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF). The HIF was set up to help fund:

  • vital physical infrastructure projects to accommodate growing communities
  • alleviate pressure on public services

Funding was for:

  • Roads
  • Bridges
  • Energy networks
  • Other utilities
  • New schools
  • Healthcare centres
  • Digital infrastructure

Working closely with Wealden District Council, we submitted a joint expression of interest (EOI) in September 2017 to the DCLG. This was for a £32 million capital funding request. It would deliver 3 key elements to unlocking and accelerating housing growth in the Wealden area. These were:

  • mitigation of nitrogen deposition in Ashdown Forest
  • delivering a new primary school in Hailsham
  • improvements to the A22 corridor

This infrastructure would help unlock and accelerate 4,500 homes. They would all be within the current Wealden Local Plan period up to 2028 across Wealden, principally in the Hailsham area. In May 2018, government announced that the EOI was successful in progressing to the next stage. This required the development of a full business case.

In March 2019, the County Council and Wealden District Council considered that the circumstances in Wealden no longer met the requirements of the HIF funding criteria. This was after serious consideration and a thorough review of:

  • the economic case
  • modelling analysis

This was in conjunction with Homes England submission guidance and technical advice.

The bid had moved from the expression of interest stage onto the development of the full business case. There were significant changes to the original scope. These weakened the link between investment and the unlocking of previously unviable housing land.

The analysis undertaken to inform the economic case highlighted the total business case produced a strong cost benefit ratio. However, most of the benefits were transport, not housing, related. Therefore, both authorities decided to withdraw the proposal.

In coming to this decision, the 2 councils were mindful that the new Major Road Network Fund (MRN) had been introduced. It specifically related to transport interventions. It was considered that there is a higher likelihood of success for this bid.

In July 2019, an outline business case for MRN funding for the A22 Corridor was submitted to government through Transport for the South East.

If you require a copy of the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) Forward Funding bid please contact the team via 

Email: Transport Planning.