Brownfield development is a positive, but it won’t solve the housing shortage

Property developer Richard Carr has long supported the government’s intentions to utilise disused brownfield sites to help ease the country’s housing crisis, however he believes they also need to consider other avenues if they are to have any chance of successfully fixing the problem.


Richard Carr Social Housing

The government needs to do more than just build on brownfield land

Richard’s belief is supported by a recent report carried out by consultancy Quod for housing charity Shelter. The report focused primarily on London which found that there simply isn’t enough brownfield sites in the capital to solve the housing crisis. It warned that difficult decisions will have to be with regard to green belt land and planning permissions.

According to the report, the annual demand for new homes in the capital is currently 50,000, which simple isn’t viable by using brownfield land alone.

It suggested the following options to help address the shortfall:

  • Green belt land development
  • Densifying suburbs
  • Garden City creation
  • Building higher

The final point is also something that Richard Carr has stressed on many occasions. He believes developers and councils should look to build taller developments; saving ground space and utilising the endless amounts of space that taller buildings offers.


Despite putting forward the suggesting, Shelter and the report warned that there wasn’t a guaranteed solution that would put an end to the current shortage.

They continued by highlighting that it would require a 50-storey tower to be built in the capital every three days to fix the problem; on top of all the existing development.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: “Decades of failure to build enough homes means that there’s no silver-bullet solution when it comes to fixing London’s chronic housing shortage.

“If a candidate’s setting out a solution that seems easy, they’re not doing enough. This crisis is a challenge that we can fix – but only leadership, ambition, and a strategy that leaves all these options on the table can turn things around.”

Richard Carr adds that people need to get used to commuting and investment in high-speed infrastructure is a must, it is high time that we got to grips with poor infrastructure from Wi Fi to Travel.

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