A focus on brownfield sites will minimise pressure on greenbelt land
Federation of Master Builders
The Federation of Master Builders responds to new figures showing a rise in the number of approved homes for construction ongreenbelt land in England.
There is no question that more small sites and brownfield land need to be developed – these are the types of sites typically delivered by smaller local house builders. Having said that, it needs to be recognised that the supply of brownfield land is never going to be sufficient to deliver the number of new homes we need, so we’re also going to need a significant amount of greenfield development – almost everyone accepts this.
The question of the greenbelt land is more difficult. The greenbelt consists of greenfield land around certain towns and cities with a specially protected status. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and planning guidance ensures a high level of protection continues to be given to the greenbelt, but some towns and cities are extremely restricted by current greenbelt boundaries and it is reasonable that there is some flexibility available to these local authorities. Ultimately, it will be local authorities who are accountable to local people who will make these decisions.
To minimise pressure on greenbelt land, local authorities need to concentrate their attention on maximising use of small and brownfield sites for the delivery of new housing. This can be done by limiting the regulatory burdens placed on small sites and enabling a speedier, more complex planning application process to operate for smaller sites. To its credit, the Government is already pushing this type of approach through its plan for Local Development Orders to be placed on more than 90% of all brownfield sites by 2020. We are optimistic that real benefits will arise from this over the next few years.