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Build back browner

  • by JW

“Recycling our land: the state of brownfield 2021”


We don’t have to build new housing on green field – as there are plenty of other places to build:

This is brownfield – and there’s been some discussion the last couple of days on the issues.

Here’s the Rural Services Network outlining those issues:

The Metro reports that according to the Campaign for Rural England (CPRE), nearly 21,000 brownfield sites of different sizes are registered on local authority databases in England, with the capacity for 1,061,346 new homes and 53% already having planning permission in place

Brownfield sites are often located in towns and cities with transport links and utilities already in place and can make a huge difference to the landscape and local economy.

However, analysis suggests that while utilising brownfield sites seems preferable to building on virgin or green belt land, with planning permission is generally easier to obtain, there are drawbacks in areas where housing demand remains low, risks of contamination are apparent and wildlife settlement has occurred.


With the full report from the Metro here – which is quite upbeat about the prospects – as part of its ‘build back browner’ campaign:

One of the examples of brownfield generation in the piece is from Hatherleigh in West Devon – much of which is ‘affordable’:

Kingswood Homes’ plans to revamp the former cattle market site include 102 new homes, a new market square, an auction facility, a pavilion, commercial units, and car parking facilities. Designed to fit the Hatherleigh 2028 vision, the plans are for ‘what a rural town should be’ with the best market in the South West, the documents submitted to West Devon Borough Council state.

Major £20m redevelopment of Hatherleigh town centre recommended for approval |

The Metro piece refers to the CPRE’s latest research – itself built on findings from October 2020:

Indeed, the CPRE have been reminding us about the availability of brownfield for a long time.

Here’s more research from last month: