The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England – CPRE’s – annual State of Brownfield report shows that there is enough suitable brownfield land available in England for more than 1 million homes across over 18,000 sites and over 26,000 hectares.
A new analysis of councils’ Brownfield Land Registers, published today (25 March) by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), demonstrates the huge potential that building on derelict and vacant land has for the regeneration of towns and cities, as well as the provision of new homes.
The North West showed the highest potential to deliver new homes on Brownfield sites outside of London: across the North West’s 40 Local Planning Authorities, 2,475 brownfield sites have been identified with a total minimum housing capacity of 152,625.
Stockport is already adopting a Brownfield first approach wherever possible following feedback with local communities regarding the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.
The analysis highlights that there is space on suitable ‘brownfield land’ and could make an immediate contribution to meeting housing need, as they have been confirmed as being deliverable within five years.
The majority of UK wide brownfield sites are available to build on now as 59% of the total identified housing is identified as deliverable within the next five years, with 63% of newly identified sites also meeting this definition.
CPRE suggests that planning permission needs to be sought for those sites in the pipeline to ensure these sites get planning permission, and are developed before greenfield sites.
Rebecca Pullinger, planning campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England 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.
“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.”
Many areas across England with high housing need also have a large amount of brownfield land ready for redevelopment. London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield have identified land available for regeneration that would provide almost half a million homes.
In order to make best use of suitable brownfield land, CPRE is urging the government to introduce a genuine ‘brownfield first’ policy, which ensures that suitable previously developed or under-used land is prioritised for redevelopment over green spaces and countryside. Clearer definitions and guidelines must be given so that the registers act as a true pipeline, identifying all possible brownfield sites and recording their suitability for uses other than housing, including uses that protect the biodiversity or heritage value of sites where applicable.