BRITAIN’S housing crisis could be solved by building a million homes on available brownfield land, a new report today claims.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England has carried out an analysis of council land registers.
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It has revealed there is enough derelict or vacant former industrial sites in towns and cities to erect the huge number of new homes.
Two-thirds of the potential sites are “shovel ready” and are deliverable within five years.
With more than 120,000 potential new homes added to the registers across England in the last year alone, brownfield land could continue to provide a steady pipeline of new housing, CPRE said.
But it warned that the definition of the land available for residential development for the registers may be missing opportunities to make better use of existing developed sites – meaning more homes could be provided.
And the assumptions for the density of housing on a site are low, so that increasing the number of properties built on brownfield could help councils make the best use of the space and deliver more homes, the charity said.
It will help to limit the amount of countryside lost to development, and build more homes in areas where people want to liveRebecca Pullinger
The analysis shows 18,277 sites identified across the country with 1,077,292 potential new homes – of which 634,750 homes are deliverable within five years.
London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield have identified suitable previously-developed land which could provide almost half a million homes.
CPRE is calling for the Government to introduce a genuine “brownfield first” policy which ensures suitable previously-developed or under-used land is prioritised for housing over green spaces and countryside.
And clearer definitions and guidelines are needed for the registers to be a better pipeline of sites, identifying all brownfield areas and recording their suitability for uses other than housing, including protecting their wildlife or heritage value where appropriate, it urged.
Rebecca Pullinger, planning campaigner at CPRE, said: “Building on brownfield land presents a fantastic opportunity to simultaneously remove local eyesores and breathe new life into areas crying out for regeneration.
“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.”
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She added: “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.”
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