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News - May/June 2017

£2bn budget for securing sites and land for new free schools

£2bn budget for securing sites and land for new free schools

LocatED, the new public property company set up to purchase and develop sites to help create 500 new free schools in England is up and running. The company will also secure sites to help deliver the additional 110 free schools announced in the spring Budget.

The organisation will operate with a £2 billion budget, making it one of largest purchasers of land in the UK. It has individual acquisition budgets to spend on sites from 10,000 to 175,000 sq ft gross internal floor area.

The Government aims to create 600,000 new school places by 2021. “We understand the scale of the challenge and the property landscape,” says LocatED’s ceo Lara Newman. LocatED has the expertise and will operate at pace to negotiate with multiple partners across the private and public sector. We work directly with landowners, agents and developers to secure sites for new free schools, whilst ensuring the best value for the taxpayer.”

Free schools remain a central though controversial part of the education strategy. The Government states that more than nine in ten free schools have been approved in areas where a need for more school places has already been identified, and the remainder have been created by local communities deciding they wanted more choice.

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