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Brownfield developments fall to lowest level in five years

Mayfield Station, part of a major brownfield regeneration scheme in Manchester.

The number of new homes being built on brownfield sites has fallen by 10% since 2014, taking it to its lowest level for five years, research has found.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) analysis of Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) data found that just 53% of homes were built on derelict or vacant land in 2018, down from 56% in 2017.

The charity also found the amount of brownfield land being redeveloped for new housing decreased in 2018, from 2,628 hectares to 1,758.

This fall in housing development on derelict or vacant land comes despite there being enough space on brownfield sites to build over one million new homes, according to the CPRE.

Rebecca Pullinger, planning campaigner at CPRE, said: ‘Increasing focus on building on brownfield land can breathe new life into towns and cities, and represents the most sustainable location for building the homes we need.

‘There is space on derelict land for more than one million new homes and, with new sites coming forward all of the time, this renewable resource could continue to provide a steady pipeline of new housing going forward.’

The CPRE says that prioritising brownfield sites could deliver more homes close to existing infrastructure, remove eyesores and spare valuable countryside.

The charity’s latest research found that the amount of housing built on green spaces like farmland, forests and gardens reached a five-year high at 3,689 hectacres last year.

In its previous report, they said that increasing the density of homes built on brownfield land could lead to a much higher number of houses being built on the sites.

The CPRE said that the government, councils and housebuilders must take a ‘brownfield-first’ approach to development to make the most of what brownfield sites offer.

Pulinger added: ‘By ensuring that run-down areas, which are crying out for regeneration, are prioritised we can build more of the homes so desperately needed in areas where people want to live, while simultaneously preventing the needless loss of countryside to new housing.’

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