Plenty of land available for reuse to keep fields green, CPRE reports

22nd October 2020

CPRE’s 2020 State of Brownfield report finds space for 1,300,000 new homes on brownfield sites across England.

New development on green field sites can mean new communities are built in areas where there is no existing infrastructure, meaning that residents need to drive to access services. However, CPRE research demonstrates that sufficient brownfield land is available for 1.3 million homes across the UK.

Building on brownfield sites not only takes pressure off the countryside: reusing derelict sites can improve local eyesores which can be a magnet for fly-tipping and antisocial behaviour, as well as generally being located in areas where existing infrastructure can meet the needs of new residents.

Middlewich’s Kingfisher estate (photo above) is a good example of new homes built on the site of a former factory, within walking distance of shops, schools and GP surgeries, with attractive design that has improved the site from when it was in industrial use.

Despite Government’s rhetoric on the effective reuse of brownfield land to deliver houses, its National Planning Policy Framework is powerless to ensure it.  Consequently, it has led to developers seeking to build new homes on the green fields of Cheshire.  The NPPF has accelerated the loss of our countryside.  Meanwhile, the considerable amount of previously developed land identified on the Brownfield Registers of the local authorities of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region has in the main been left neglected, blighting neighbourhoods owing to its poor visual amenity, and attracting antisocial behaviour and crime.

It is far more sustainable to reuse centrally located and accessible land that has already been built, as the cost of supporting infrastructure is avoided, commuting journeys are shorter and on the whole the natural capital value is lower than losing wildlife habitat and greenfields that have a value to farm production.

Read the report here:

Middlewich - canalside development on brownfield land