Salford, Greater Manchester, is leading the way in terms of brownfield development with a recent report from its council showing that 87.9% of new homes were built on brownfield land, writes property developer Richard Carr.
Middlewood Locks in Salford
Richard Carr believes that councils and home builders should target brownfield land before looking at green belt land for developments. Building upon disused brownfield land can regenerate communities and bring life into areas that was suffering economically.
Salford City Council’s report covered the period between April 1 2015 and March 31 2016. The result is pleasing one for the council who have encouraged developers to use brownfield sites as far as possible.
Councillor Derek Antrobus told salfordonline.com: “Salford needs new homes and we need as many as possible to be built on brownfield sites. This not only eases pressure on green spaces but it means new homes are built closer to existing jobs, schools and shops.
Forward thinking councils in the UK will help the government bring forward brownfield land to be used for new homes, through the use of a register, writes Richard Carr.
Will brownfield registers help kick start house building?
73 pioneering councils will take on the challenge as the government bids to get the country building again. The new brownfield registers will provide house builders with current and publicly available information on local brownfield sites which are available for housing.
Communities Secretary Greg Clark has promised that the registers will help house building firms identify suitable derelict and underused land, which will speed up the construction of new homes. The new registers will also allow for communities to bring sites to the attention of councils and help attract investment to the area.
The government has pledged one million more new homes and to also achieve planning permission on 90% of suitable brownfield sites for housing.
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.
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
Garden City creation
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.
Finally, the government provides developers with some motivation
In a bid to help meet the government’s 2020 target of building 200,000 per year, it has put 600 acres of surplus public sector land on the market. They hope it will deliver tens of thousands of new homes, boosting local growth across the country.
Richard Carr still believes there is more the government can do in terms of policies around planning, but does see the move as a positive step and proof that they are serious about getting the country building again.
Housing Minster Brandon Lewis has urged property developers to use this opportunity to build the homes “hard-working people” want and deserve.
According to theweek.co.uk, David Cameron is set go it alone in his bid to meet the government’s affordable housing target after losing patience with housebuilders, writes property specialist Richard Carr.
Going it alone
Is the government right to go it alone?
The reports claim that David Cameron is set to announce that the government will “directly” build up to 13,000 new affordable homes on public land. The PM is expected to unveil these “radical” plans in the next few days, which he claims (rather ambitiously) will match Margaret Thatcher and Michael Hesltine’s regeneration of London’s Docklands in the 1980s in significance.
Richard Carr believes that the government will meet its target
Figures published earlier this month show that the UK construction industry is on the rise with over 131,000 new homes being completed during the last 12 months.
This figures is a massive 15% higher than last year and the highest 12 month total since June 2009.
According to the Office of National Statistics the output in the construction industry has increased by 2.7% in June compared to the same month in 2014. Additionally, work on private new housing between April and June in 2015 rose by nearly 3.9% on the pre previous quarter.
Homebuilders across the UK are being encouraged by the government so demonstrate their skills with a £26million fund, writes development specialist Richard Carr.
Variety for first time buyers
Homebuilders set to benefit from a £26m government fund
First time buyers will be able to see different types of properties in the coming years thanks to a £26 million fund delivered by the government to housebuilders.
The initiative is part of the government’s wide pledge to deliver 200,000 starter homes by the year 2020.
The money will support a variety of aspects of the property market including: developers, councils, housing associations and small builders. The government hopes that the investment will improve the quality of starter homes compared to what is currently on the market for first time buyers.
Housing was one of the key agendas at this year’s general election, with parties making elaborate claims that they would build ‘x’ amount of homes, but is the demand already too high asks Development Specialist Richard Carr?
During May, the demand was at its highest level since September 2014, at a time when supply has seen a large fall year on year.
According to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) 383 house hunters registered during May per branch compared to 344 in the previous month. The year on year rise in house buyers is also at its peak since May 2005, when 386 house buyers were registered per month.
The Wildlife and Countryside network, which encompasses 44 voluntary organisations, say that whilst most brownfield development doesn’t come with negative impacts: “small but important number of sites are hugely valuable for both people and wildlife”.
In the network’s report they say that local authorities should: ““encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value.