CLA: Building homes on greenfield sites 'inevitable'
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government
CLA: Building homes on greenfield sites "inevitable"
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has backed Planning Minister Nick Boles’ view that converting empty properties and developing brownfield sites will not be enough to cure the national housing shortage.
The CLA said it is "inevitable" that some greenfield sites will be needed to build 270,000 new homes each year.
CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "Government statistics suggest there are more than 250,000 long-term empty properties in England. However, research by the National Housing and Planning Unit suggests fewer than 6,000 exist in high-demand areas.
"Research has also shown a large proportion of the existing 400,000-plus planning approvals cannot be used for housing because the high clean-up costs makes them economically unviable.”
He said: “There is a lack of viability on brownfield sites in lower value urban areas. We want local planning authorities to be realistic when calculating their five-year deliverable supply of housing. This means not placing excessive emphasis on allocated sites that are unlikely to be developed.
"It also means encouraging Local and Neighbourhood Plans that allow incremental housing growth in rural areas and deliver rural sustainability. However, the additional cost of paying the Community Infrastructure Levy may make smaller rural developments unviable."
Mr Cotterell warned the Government risked increasing the North-South divide with its lack of strategic thinking on planning.
He said: "Mr Boles is clear that the majority of new housing development needed would be in the South East of England. But inflation-busting rail fare rises are actively discouraging some people from moving further afield to take advantage of lower land and housing costs."
Meanwhile, the Campaign to Protect Rural England has cautiously welcomed the Government's plans for communities that agree a neighbourhood plan will be entitled to retain 25% of the proceeds of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
John Hoad, CPRE's Head of Planning, said: "We welcome this new power for local councils and the link to sensible planning for growth through a neighbourhood plan. Our experience of working on neighbourhood plans with the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) suggests that they have great potential to steer appropriate new development to the best locations, especially in small rural communities.
"This new incentive must not, however, be used to buy off legitimate objections to new development. CIL is meant to be a mechanism for funding essential infrastructure. It should not be seen as a way of persuading communities to agree contentious developments."