Headlines: May 30th, 2003

New statistics show more housing developments than ever before are being built on brownfield land. Sixty four per cent of all new housing developments, including conversions, were built on brownfield land in 2002. The government had set a target of at least 60 per cent of developments being on such sites by 2008.But regeneration minister Jeff Rooker has warned that this figure is being met partly because of the record low level of house construction and he said more had be done to turn this around. He called on local councils to be more creative about the use of their powers

Lord Rooker said, “People need more homes and they need them now. The growth outlined in the Sustainable Communities Plan rightly prioritises brownfield development. Use of brownfield sites benefits towns by redeveloping waste ground and run down buildings and benefits the countryside by relieving pressure to build on green fields.”

He said the government was playing its part by improving the planning system but local government needed to do its bit, too. Housebuilders, he said, claimed the planning system could act as a barrier to development and the government’s proposed changes to the system should help speed up the handling of applications. In the meantime, he called on local councils to think creatively about the land they control and the powers they can use to make sure more high quality homes were provided as a matter of priority.