A new report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) shows that building on vacant “brownfield” sites could provide over a million new homes.
The State of Brownfield 2019 report, compiled using analysis of UK councils’ Brownfield Land Registers, explores the urban regeneration potential of brownfield land – spaces which have previously been built on but which are now vacant or derelict. The report has identified sufficient brownfield land across the UK to host more than a million newly built houses, with more than 60 per cent of the sites immediately available for development work to begin.
By giving priority to brownfield sites for housing construction, the report notes, councils would be able to regenerate run-down and low housing urban areas. Additionally, countryside spaces would be better protected from housing development; thus protecting green spaces, wildlife habitats and biodiversity.
CPRE planning campaigner Rebecca Pullinger 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.”
The CPRE has called on the UK government to adopt a “brownfield first” approach to new housing construction, prioritising vacant and derelict sites over green and rural spaces when planning new housing construction projects. The State of Brownfield 2019 report identified vacant sites suitable for housing regeneration in Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester and Sheffield.