Sunday, July 16, 2017

There is no need to build on Green Belt
– CPRE Report

We have enough space to build for a minimum of 20 years in London if we meet the 50,000 homes per year target or a 40 year supply if (more realistically) we maintain the 25,000 current build rate: there is no need to build on our precious green spaces.

Earlier this week CPRE announced their new report Space to Build which shows:
  • why we do not need to build on our green space in London
  • why building on green space won’t solve the housing crisis and
  • why councils are releasing double and sometimes triple the amount of land which is likely to actually be needed
The report has been released in the context of increasing threats to London’s green spaces. This week 2 new threats to parks in London have arisen; Udney Park in Teddington and Byron Rec in Harrow. These will be added to the threats map and to the list of over 50 protected sites now under threat in London.


The report argues that delivering new homes in London has been hampered by slow build rates and a lack of funding for affordable homes, not, as often suggested, a lack of suitable land.

The report details a range of opportunities to use suitable wasted space in London, from redeveloping existing single storey buildings into ‘mid-rise’ developments, to reclaiming road space and disused garages, which it says offer enormous potential for new housing. It shows:
  1. Sites for 560,000 homes have already been identified by planners
  2. Airspace – above existing buildings – could provide at least 500,000 homes
  3. Small sites can deliver more than 100,000 homes
  4. Estate regeneration could deliver up to 360,000 homes
  5. Car parks can provide space for 75,000 homes
  6. Disused garages can provide space for 16,000 homes
  7. Reclaiming roads and roundabouts could provide space for 10,000 homes
  8. Increasing housing densities in Outer London could deliver 20,000 homes each year
  9. Bringing empty homes back into use can deliver 5,000 homes
Alice Roberts of CPRE London said: “It is commonly argued that ‘to solve the housing crisis we must build on Green Belt and other green spaces’. But evidence shows there are suitable alternative sites available in London for well over a million new homes.”

“Londoners may be surprised to know that permissions have in fact already been granted for 260,000 homes in the capital. At the current build rate of 25,000 new homes per year, that alone will keep us going for 10 years. With all the other opportunities identified in this report, which don’t involve a return to high rise [my emphasis] development, we have enough space to be building for 40 years.”

“Of course we need to build more quickly, and to tackle London’s housing crisis effectively we need much more affordable housing. But neither of these objectives will be achieved by releasing more and more land – especially precious greenfield land – which is what councils are being asked to do. The only ones set to benefit from the release of greenfield land will be landowners and the big housebuilders, not communities in need of decent, affordable housing. New evidence has shown that the vast majority of housing proposed for Green Belt will not be affordable.”

CPRE London is calling for:
  • More realistic housing targets - Councils should not be required to set targets, and allocate sites, for double the number of homes likely to be built;
  • The enforcement of a ‘brownfield first’ approach - There should be a clear requirement for all suitable brownfield sites and other wasted spaces outlined in the report to be built out before any greenfield site is considered for development; and
  • More affordable homes to solve the housing crisis - There should be a refocusing of housing policy and public investment on delivering genuinely affordable homes.

1 comment:

  1. its the usual way of doing things.....of course we can make it that small bit shitter, we all have to accept less space...we can live on top of each other, just chop the houses in half, six to a room. All I want to know is "why do we accept this?". 99% of houses I see for sale are not fit for habitation at any price level. I'm not posh, just being realistic. Want to raise a family, space for two children to develop. Own rooms, a space for the washing machine to go. You know, like our parents had. But instead we'll just make it a bit shitter. If we can have 10 tables at the restaurant, lets stick in 12 so we can wiggle passed each other apologetically, that'll work.

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