The government has announced a multi-million pound loan for a housing developer at Alconbury Weald to help speed up the building of thousands of new properties.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) revealed today (Thursday) that it would make £45million available to Urban & Civic to "accelerate the delivery of the site by funding the provision of vital infrastructure".

The former airfield at Alconbury Weald stretches to more than 1,400 acres and will

support the delivery of 290,000sqm of employment floor space, 5,000 homes, 700 acres of green spaces and complementary transport, energy and community facilities.

Announcing the deal at international property conference, HCA chief executive Nick Walkley said: "This deal is exactly the sort of thing we are here to do - providing the means to realise the full potential of development sites and provide the impetus to enable a real transformation in local housing markets.

"Alconbury Weald is a major development of recognised quality and we will work closely with Urban&Civic to accelerate the new housing and community facilities that this site can delivery for a major growth region of the country."

Alongside thousands of new homes, the former airfield will also include a secondary school and three new primary schools of which the first opened last year.

The chief executive of Urban&Civic, Nigel Hugill said: "At Alconbury Weald we have brought forward infrastructure spend as a direct consequence of the HCA's involvement and look forward to working in partnership with Nick and his team over the lifetime of the development.

"The government is right to emphasise the importance of large sites in meeting housing demand in areas of strong economic and demographic growth, as well as helping widen the supply chain for faster housing delivery."

Housing and Planning Minister, Gavin Barwell said: "Speeding up house building is one of the key measures we set out in our housing white paper, so that we get the right homes built in the right places.

"Having visited the development last year, it will not only provide much-needed homes, but also space for new businesses as well as schools and community facilities."