Brownfield sites are areas with dilapidated buildings that are no longer needed, areas where we would all assume, would provide a perfect opportunity for a developer to build much needed housing. However, it was only this week that a new register has been published that sees Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) list sites ripe for regeneration. The report entitled Brownfield: The Housing Crisis Solved?, by Gracechurch Group, found it might not be as easy as it looks, but it is one that we welcome.
In April this year, the then Housing and Planning Minister, Gavin Barwell, announced all LPAs were required to produce and maintain brownfield registers by 31st December this year. And as that date gets nearer, 67 LPAs, who took part in the original pilot have now produced their registers.
They aim to provide up-to-date, publicly available information on brownfield land that is suitable for housing. Barwell explained: “We need to build more homes in this country, so making sure that we re-use brownfield land is crucial. We want to bring life back to abandoned sites, create thousands more homes and help protect our valued countryside.”
Part one of the register offers developers a comprehensive list of all brownfield sites suitable for housing, irrespective of their planning status and once completed a second section will include sites that have been granted Permission in Principle.
This is exciting news for small and medium sized housing developers in particular, who should find it easier to spot prime land for development. Even more good news is it is set to fast-track planning applications on these sites, something Oracle Group finds a particular bug-bear for SMEs, who want to unlock potential brownfield land but who get tied up in the politics of it all!
To help the housing crisis the Government’s proposed formula would suggest the 67 LPAs that have taken part in the pilot will require 278,640 new homes over the next five years and 557,280 over the next 10. From those registers the number of sites could support 305,231 homes. That’s one great big start to hitting housing numbers.
Working with some niche developers in this industry, we have been able to see just how derelict industrial space and buildings on the At-Risk register can be transformed sensitively to truly transform an area that needs more houses.
While some brownfield sites are difficult to build on and drop out rates can be high due to these tricky redevelopments, planning constraints and its expenses of re-mediating; the fact we will in the New Year have a register to make this easier can only be positive. Brownfield can make a contribution to the housing crisis and developers should get going on building more homes.
By Vicki O’Hare, PR Senior Account Manager
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