Campaigners predict one million homes to be built on brownfield land

More than one million homes could be built on ‘brownfield’ land, according to new analysis by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

According to a new report by the CPRE there are now 18,000 brownfield sites across England, covering a total of 26,000 hectares.

The report claims there is space on suitable brownfield to accommodate more than one million new homes, two-thirds of which are ‘shovel ready’ and could make an immediate contribution to meeting housing need, as they have been confirmed as being deliverable within five years.

Despite the success of brownfield land registers, the CPRE fears that the definition of ‘previously developed land’ given in the registers’ regulations means that a large number of sites are currently being missed, and the full potential of the registers to bring forward as much suitable brownfield land for housing as possible is not being met.

It also highlights that housing density assumptions for the land identified is low. By increasing the density of housing built on brownfield land, councils will be able to make best use of the space available and deliver more homes.

Recent research by CPRE London in the Borough of Enfield found space for at least 37,000 homes on a wide range of types of brownfield land. This is compared to just 2,170 homes identified on Enfield’s most recently published register in December 2017.

‘Building on brownfield land presents a fantastic opportunity to simultaneously remove local eyesores and breathe new life into areas crying out for regeneration,’ said CPRE planning campaigner, Rebecca Pullinger.

‘It will help to limit the amount of countryside lost to development, and build more homes in areas where people want to live, with infrastructure, amenities and services already in place.

‘Councils have worked hard to identify space suitable for more than one million new homes. But until we have a brownfield first approach to development, and all types of previously developed land are considered, a large number of sites that could be transformed into desperately needed new homes will continue to be overlooked. The government, local councils and house builders must work hard to bring these sites forward for development and get building.’

The full report – State of Brownfield 2019 – is available to read here.

Jamie Hailstone

Journalist  

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