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Brownfield registers show land for a million homes

Words: Huw Morris

At least one million homes could be built on brownfield land, with more than two-thirds of them deliverable within five years.

An investigation into brownfield land registers by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) reveals three of the next five years’ worth of government housing targets could be met through building on brownfield land that has already been identified, easing pressures on councils to continue releasing greenfield land unnecessarily and preventing the unnecessary loss of countryside.

The analysis found that 17,656 sites identified by planning authorities, covering more than 28,000 hectares of land, would provide enough land for a minimum of 1,052,124 homes. This could rise to more than 1.1 million once all registers are published, said the CPRE.

The areas of England identified as having the highest number of potential deliverable homes include London, the North West and the South East, with the new registers giving minimum housing estimates of 267,859, 160,785 and 132,263 respectively.

Planning campaigner Rebecca Pulling said the analysis shows government estimates of brownfield capacity had been “wide of the mark”.

She added: “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 potential number of homes that could be built – the figure could much higher if density is increased and if more registers looked at small sites.”

The registers have found sites for more than 400,000 homes that have not yet come forward for planning permission. More than a third of these sites are on publicly owned land.

The CPRE said that as public authority developments should give a significant opportunity to provide affordable homes, this presents scope for homes built on brownfield land to help towards local need.

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