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Councils ordered to make it easier to build on brownfield land

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  • 13/02/2024
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Councils ordered to make it easier to build on brownfield land
Councils across England have been instructed to prioritise brownfield developments and be less bureaucratic around planning by the government.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced that planning authorities in the 20 largest cities and towns across the country are to be made to follow a ‘brownfield presumption’ if housebuilding drops below certain levels, which will make it easier to get permission to build on previously developed brownfield sites.

Under the current National Planning Policy Framework, there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development when it scores below 75 per cent in the ‘housing delivery test’. However, the government wants to change this to scores below 95 per cent for these 20 urban areas.

Analysis from the government suggests that this brownfield presumption could potentially result in the building of 11,500 additional homes per year in London alone, with far greater impact if extended beyond the capital. 

The department has launched a consultation on its proposals today, which will run until 26 March, with the intention of adapting the national planning policy as soon as possible. 

In addition, legislation being introduced in parliament today will extend the current permitted development rights, making it easier to convert commercial buildings of any size into new homes. 

Michael Gove (pictured), housing secretary, said that taking a “brownfield-first approach” would deliver thousands of new homes where people want to live and work, without “concreting over the countryside”.

He continued: “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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