The UK government’s efforts to tackle the housing crisis include a pledge to build 1 million more homes, and an aim to secure planning permission on 90% of brownfield sites that are suitable for housing.
In March 2016, it was announced that councils across England would pioneer new brownfield registers in pilot studies, prior to registers being made mandatory, in a move seen to be a ramping up the government’s brownfield land building commitment.
73 councils will trial brownfield registers to bring forward derelict and underused land for new homes. The aim is to provide house-builders with up-to-date information on all local brownfield sites that are available for housing, thereby speeding up the process of identifying suitable sites and constructing new homes.
The Housing and Planning Bill will make registers mandatory for all councils, but in the meantime, the pilots will help make government policy better informed.
The registers will mean local communities are able to identify local sites such as derelict buildings that could benefit from redevelopment, potentially attracting investment to the area. The Housing and Planning Bill will also enable housing-led development sites listed on the registers to be granted ‘permission in principle’; giving developers of new homes on brownfield land a greater degree of certainty about the planning process.
The councils with the most brownfield land in England have been identified by the National Land Use Database and have been selected to take part in the pilot project:
- County Durham
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- South Cambridgeshire
- Tonbridge and Malling
In addition, 36 areas were selected on a competitive basis.
£10,000 government funding is to be given to each council agreeing to be part of the pilot project to help establish their brownfield registers.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “A key part of our ambition to build 1 million homes is to get work started on brownfield sites across the country – many of which are currently nothing more than blight on a community’s landscape. These councils will be at the forefront of these efforts to list land and encourage builders to deliver new homes for aspiring homeowners. But this is just the first step and I would urge councils to continue to offer up brownfield sites to deliver the homes their residents want and need.”
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We want to help hard working families and first time buyers to own their home and to achieve this by building on brownfield land wherever possible to help protect our valued countryside. The register helps deliver both of these at a stroke. By getting the first councils going in piloting a register of brownfield land for housing we have the first wave of areas pushing for more homes on suitable brownfield land, including affordable housing.”
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