CPRE report provides comprehensive figure for England’s brownfield capacity

Report identifies capacity for a million homes on brownfield land

With estimates for brownfield capacity previously ranging from 200,000 to 1.8 million homes, CPRE has published a report ‘From wasted space to living spaces’ which it says shows that local authorities have identified the capacity for at least a million new homes on suitable brownfield land in England.

Available (along with local authority level data and a set of appendices) here the report ‘provides the first comprehensive figure for brownfield capacity since the end of mandatory local authority submissions to the National Land Use Database (NLUD) in 2010’.

Based on research conducted for CPRE by the University of the West of England (UWE), the report concludes that a minimum of 976,000 new homes could be built on identified brownfield sites.

The researchers note, however, that even this figure underestimates suitable land as it only identifies land already derelict or with planning permission: ‘it does not include currently underused land that could be used for housing, such as car parks, or new brownfield land that will become available,’ it says.

Within the 976,000 figure, the report finds that brownfield land with either detailed or outline planning permission is ready to accommodate more than 400,000 houses, while currently vacant or derelict land without planning permission could accommodate more than 550,000. Nearly half of this vacant space is located in the southeast, the east of England and London, ‘which itself could accommodate 146,000 homes’.

The report makes several recommendations to make brownfield land more attractive to developers and encourage local authorities to do more to identify suitable sites. These are: the reintroduction of a clear and consistent ‘brownfield first’ approach in national planning policy; bringing back an effective strategic tier of sub-regional or county level planning: ensuring that strong strategic and local plans are implemented across the country; giving the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) greater powers and resources to redevelop large and difficult sites; developing a proactive approach to identifying brownfield land, with increased focus on regenerating large sites with multiple owners; reintroducing mandatory reporting to the National Land Use Database (NLUD); and providing assistance to smaller builders by identifying smaller sites and offering incentives for development such as the increased use of local development orders (LDOs).

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