CPRE figures don’t add up, says Turley

Headline figures quoted in a report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) over inflate the number of homes that could be built on brownfield or previously developed land (PDL), according to Turley.

The national planning consultancy believes that while PDL has the potential to make a significant contribution to UK housing needs, it is dangerous to assume that all PDL is suitable for development.

The CPRE Report (“From Wasted Space to Living Spaces – The availability of brownfield land for housing development in England”), relies on data extrapolated from the National Land Use Database that, until 2010, had been statutorily updated by Local Authorities. The CPRE estimates that, in 2012, a total of 45,124ha of PDL was available which could provide 975,991 homes.

However, the Report itself earlier admits that under half of PDL is suitable for housing, with roughly a third of those ‘suitable’ sites categorised as ‘hardcore’ sites, which, due to various site characteristics, make them very difficult to develop on.

Jeff Richards, a Director at Turley, said:

“The claim that there is capacity for at least one million new homes on brownfield fails to account for the fact that under half of PDL is suitable for housing.”

The Report does highlight that, in 2012, approximately 400,000 homes on PDL sites had extant outline or detailed planning permissions and approximately 368,000 further homes were identified to come forward on allocated sites or on sites with draft allocations.

Richards concluded:

“While many of the CPRE’s suggestions are sound the introduction of a ‘brownfield first’ policy is only likely to cause housing development to stagnate due to the various barriers of developing on it.”

“To deliver anywhere near the number of homes we need to meet the UK housing crisis there is a continued need for both brownfield and greenfield development.”