Push for councils to use brownfield land for homes

Drone view of a housing estate.

Building homes on brownfield land is due to increase under a major shake-up to planning rules to boost housebuilding while protecting the Green Belt. Every council in England will be told they need to prioritise brownfield developments and instructed to be more flexible in applying policies that delays housebuilding on brownfield land.
The announcement is mostly aimed at large city councils who are failing to hit their locally agreed housebuilding targets. 

This will make it easier to get permission to build on previously developed brownfield sites.

The raft of policy measures announced today show the government taking immediate action on its long-term plan for housing, which will deliver homes in the areas that need and want them the most – such as in big cities, where there is the highest demand and existing infrastructure to support new development. 

The focus on brownfield land and urban development is part of the government’s plan to take a common sense to delivering the housing that is needed, protect the countryside and Green Belt.  

The reforms aim to support developers aiming to undertake major regeneration on brownfield sites and remove uncertainty surrounding plans being held up. 

Analysis from the London Plan Review shows that new brownfield presumption in the capital could potentially result in up to 11,500 additional homes per year. By extending the reforms across the country, more homes will be unlocked than if action had been taken in London alone. 

A consultation on these proposals will run from today until the end of March. 

The government plans to introduce these changes in London as a result of poor housing delivery in the capital, aiming to turbocharge brownfield regeneration projects. 

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said of the package that the government is "on track to meet [their] commitment to deliver one million homes over the course of this Parliament."

Legislation laid in Parliament today will extend current permitted development rights, so that commercial buildings of any size will have the freedom to be converted into new homes – this means shops, offices, and other buildings all quickly repurposed, theoretically resulting in thousands of new homes by 2030.  

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