Brownfield site

Brownfield land has space to build one million new homes, analysis finds

There is enough space on brownfield sites to build at least one million new homes, according to the latest research.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) carried out the study of the government’s Brownfield Land Registers and found that more than two-thirds of these homes could be deliverable within the next five years.

The report found that the 17,656 sites identified by local planning authorities would provide enough land for a minimum of 1,052,124 homes, which could rise to over 1.1 million once all registers are published.

Most of the brownfield land identified was also within urban areas that already had infrastructure and where there was a higher demand for housing. 

Rebecca Pullinger, planning campaigner at the CPRE, said it was fantastic that local authorities had identified so many sites on brownfield land.

“Contrary to what the government and other commentators have said, brownfield sites are also available in areas with high housing pressure. 

“Indeed, our analysis is conservative with its estimates of [the] potential number of homes that could be built – the figure could [be] much higher if density is increased and if more registers looked at small sites.”

The registers have found sites for over 400,000 homes that have not yet come forward for planning permission, despite the need to move sites towards development. 

The CPRE also found that there was brownfield capacity in areas where there was a threat to the green belt, particularly in the North West, where local authorities identified enough brownfield land to satisfy up to 12 years’ worth of housing need.

The group is now calling on the government to take the opportunity presented by the upcoming review of the National Planning Policy Framework to introduce a brownfield-first approach to land release and granting planning permission for development. 

“The government needs to get on with amending its guidance to make sure that councils identified all the available brownfield sites in their areas,” added Rebecca.  

“They then need to improve incentives to build on these sites and ensure that they follow through on their commitment that all new builds should be on brownfield first.”

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