NFB: Brownfield first is the correct approach

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) published an updated analysis on the potential of brownfield land for housing. It calls for a stop to the unnecessary loss of our countryside and green spaces.

Identifying suitable brownfield land for more than one million homes across 18,000 sites, the CPRE called on the Government to implement a genuine ‘brownfield first’ policy to help prioritise brownfield over greenfield, as well as supporting local authorities to establish a more rigorous list of opportunities.

It also encourages local government to do a much better job identifying and promoting brownfield sites.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) wholeheartedly agrees with the CPRE and welcomes its sensible suggestion. As advocates of small sites registers, better industry collaboration with local developers and land owners, and long term planning of strategic large sites, the NFB understands the value of exhausting brownfield and smaller sites.

The CPRE is also right to use the word ‘unnecessary’ when referring to the loss of green spaces. In some regions, especially since the Government changed the definition of brownfield to exclude gardens, no brownfield land is available. Therefore, it will be necessary to use some greenspaces to meet housing need and keep villages and towns thriving.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “This is not simply about cleaning up and using previously developed land. Brownfield sites are typically uncontroversial, built more quickly and delivered by locally employing and investing SMEs. They hold a lot of community value”

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy at the House Builders Association, said: “This report is another example of local government failing to allocate the right homes in the right places and relying too heavily on large sites.

“Local authorities must do a better job allocating sites for housing, but the Government needs to now recognise why the industry is calling for planning reform. It’s just not fit for purpose.”