New research published today by the National Trust and the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) suggests that the Government’s assurances of building on brownfield sites first is not backed up by reality on the ground.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph today (Wednesday 27 March) the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles states: “We are making the most of every single square inch of brownfield land.”
Yet research carried out by the LGIU points to a dramatically different picture on the ground with developers arguing that it’s not economically viable to develop brownfield sites for new housing and pushing for more greenfield sites to meet housing targets.
The National Trust is surprised by the Communities Secretary’s comments as we are aware of cases – such as in Salford – where the Council’s ambitions for brownfield have been over-ridden in favour of 350 houses on a greenfield site – excluding 10,300 houses which are on brownfield from the Local Plan.
Peter Nixon, Director of Conservation at the National Trust, said: “We are very concerned that the principal of “brownfield first” is being eroded as the new plans emerge.
“Our research suggests a growing number of greenfield sites are being prioritised for development with developers arguing that brownfield sites – many of which already have planning permission for construction – are now unprofitable to build on.
“We think this shift in priorities is bad news for our cities, bad for our towns, bad for our villages and bad for our countryside.”