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UK housebuilders' profits dominating over social worth, warns professor

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UK housebuilders' profits dominating over social worth, warns professor

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development

UK housebuilders' profits dominating over social worth, warns professor UK housebuilders' profits dominating over social worth, warns professor

A professor has claimed that a "one-sided approach" to housebuilding means that potential sites are judged on the financial profits they will reap for developers, rather than on their social or environmental viability - which has led to a reduction of more expensive sites on brownfields, putting more pressure on green belt plots.

Alister Scott, Professor of Environmental and Spatial Planning from Birmingham City University, has said that the "big failure of planning has been to focus on single issues in isolation rather than try to join them up".

The professor insists that the UK urgently needs to move away from a "fix on housing, green belt or transport in separate silos", and build "communities and places" rather than merely houses.

Professor Scott was speaking in the wake of housebuilder Persimmon's call for a review of the green belt to potentially free up more land for development.

Persimmon today posted a 57% (£208.9 million) surge in profits for the first six months of the year. The developer currently has 82,250 plots land-banked.

Professor Scott believes that a number of steps need to be taken to resolve the problem, including a clearer understanding of what brownfield sites are viable for development.

The academic also claims that a duty to cooperate is not working as effectively as it should, meaning there isn't a strategic approach to the issue of housing growth and demand as each authority tries to get its local plan approved, and once done is reluctant to take on extra growth.

Professor Scott said: "I believe that we should rethink green belt but not abandon the concept for developer led profits. Rather we seek to maximise the environmental and social benefits of such land. Rarely is it positively managed. In so doing it needs to be developed as the local plan proceeds rather than as a no go area."

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