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Build on brownfield, Gove tells councils

Big city councils must prioritise brownfield development, building new homes in right places and protecting the Green Belt, says Housing Secretary Michael Gove.

With the announcement of rules changes, building homes on brownfield land will be turbocharged to boost housebuilding while protecting the Green Belt.

As part of its long-term plan for housing, the government has announced that every council in England will be told that they will need to prioritise brownfield developments and instructed to be less bureaucratic and more flexible in applying policies that halt housebuilding on brownfield land.

The bar for refusing brownfield plans will also be made much higher for those big city councils who are failing to hit their locally agreed housebuilding targets. Planning authorities in England’s 20 largest cities and towns will be made to follow a ‘brownfield presumption’, if housebuilding drops below expected levels. This will make it easier to get permission to build on previously developed brownfield sites, helping more young families to find a home.

The focus on brownfield land and urban development is part of the government’s plan to take a common sense to delivering the housing that is needed, protect the countryside and Green Belt.

Analysis published as part of the London Plan Review shows that new brownfield presumption in the capital could potentially result in up to 11,500 additional homes per year. And by extending the reforms across the country, more homes will be unlocked than if action had been taken in London alone.

The government plans to introduce these changes in London as a result of poor housing delivery in the capital, putting rocket boosters under brownfield regeneration projects.

The government is also helping developers overcome tiresome bureaucracy by slashing red tape that stops derelict sites and unused buildings being turned into new homes. Legislation laid in Parliament today will extend current permitted development rights, so that commercial buildings of any size will have the freedom to be converted into new homes – this means shops, offices, and other buildings all quickly repurposed, resulting in thousands of quality new homes by 2030.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove said:Today marks another important step forward in our Long-Term Plan for Housing, taking a brownfield first approach to deliver thousands of new homes where people want to live and work, without concreting over the countryside.

“Our new brownfield presumption will tackle under delivery in our key towns and cities – where new homes are most needed to support jobs and drive growth.”

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