Abstracts: November 28th, 2014

There’s enough brownfield land to build more than one million homes across England with new analysis revealing that a quarter of it is owned by councils. Developers are reluctant to use brownfield land because of higher development costs.

In London, a massive 40 percent of brownfield land with potential to build on is owned by councils, which will cause questions to be asked of planning chiefs and politicians who have constantly vowed to speed up development on these sites.

A new report by Daniel Watney, an independent property consultancy, has highlighted over 23,000 ha of brownfield land in England, with over 10,000 hectares suitable for housing.
Nationally, the sites identified have the potential capacity for over 460,000 homes. 25% of these homes are on brownfield land owned by the public sector – with enough space for nearly 120,000 homes.

The exclusive analysis in Daniel Watney’s Development Update, published this week, crunches newly released figures covering 45% of English councils. This means that the potential supply of brownfield land could increase extensively once remaining sites are identified across the remaining 55% of councils.

This report – which uses official government data – shows that London holds 1,123 ha suitable for development – which could support 157,221 homes in total, though these figures only currently include 12 London boroughs.

They show the potential to build 64,611 homes on publicly owned brownfield sites in the capital – 40% of the total. Land held by the 20 other boroughs and City of London Corporation is likely to yield hundreds more sites.

In June, chancellor George Osbourne announced 20 housing zones in London would provide 50,000 new homes on brownfield land.

The expense of building on brownfield land often remains a deterrent for developers, but by showing the amount of brownfield land owned by the public sector, the report highlights the land that could be sold at a discounted rate to encourage housing development.

Outside of London, Liverpool and Birmingham have the highest potential for brownfield development – with space for 19,112 and 16,391 houses respectively – with publicly owned land having the potential to provide 49% and 21% of the new homes.

John Harding, senior partner at Daniel Watney, said:”These figures show the true scale of opportunity we have to re-use brownfield sites for new homes. However, while it’s vital we build on existing infrastructure we need to ensure that health, transport and education services can support new residents.

“In London, inner-city boroughs like Westminster continue to do a great job of managing the short supply of land they have. But as transport improves, outer London areas such as Redbridge and Hounslow will need to play a vital role in meeting the capital’s housing need.”