Press release

Brownfield sites to be prioritised for development

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Thousands of homes could be built on brownfield sites available for development.

Planning aerial view

Thousands of homes could be built on brownfield sites available for development according to figures published today (28 October 2014) by the Homes and Communities Agency.

Following reforms of the planning system, more than two thirds of all homes are built on brownfield land – with ambitions to go even further.

And earlier this month the government issued new guidance to councils on using Local Plans to safeguard their area against urban sprawl and protect the green lungs around towns and cities.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

This government has been very clear that when planning for new buildings, protecting our precious green belt is paramount. Local people don’t want to lose their countryside to urban sprawl, or see towns and cities lost to unnecessary development.

We have put Local Plans at the heart of the reformed planning system, so councils and local people can now decide where development should and shouldn’t go.

Support for new housing is growing, because communities welcome development if it is built in the right place and does not ignore their needs. That’s why planning permission for 230,000 homes was granted by councils in the last year alone, while official statistics show that green belt development is at its lowest rate since modern records began in 1989.

Councils will play a critical role in bringing forward brownfield land and government wants to see permissions in place for homes on over 90% of suitable brownfield land by 2020. This could pave the way for up to 200,000 new homes while protecting our green belt.

In addition, 20 new housing zones on this brownfield land in London will benefit from £400 million funding from the government and the Greater London Authority.

There will be £200 million of additional government funding available for 10 zones outside London.

The government has also stated that councils should consider how they will protect and preserve important sites in their area, especially green belt sites.

Other considerations include:

  • sites of special scientific interest
  • areas of outstanding natural beauty
  • heritage coastline
  • national parks and the Broads

Further information

The government published new guidance on Monday 6 October, which reaffirmed how councils should use their Local Plan, drawing on protections in the National Planning Policy Framework, to safeguard their local area against urban sprawl, and protect the green lungs around towns and cities.

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Published 28 October 2014