Wirral MP calls on government to commit to protect green-belt and prioritise brownfield land for housing

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25 Mar 2019
Margaret Greenwood MP is urging the government to make a clear commitment to a genuine brownfield-first approach to house building.

This comes after the publication of a report by Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in which it was shown that there is enough suitable brownfield land available in England for more than one million homes across over 18,000 sites.

Margaret Greenwood met with Matt Thomson, Head of Planning for CPRE, in Parliament last week to discuss the situation in Wirral where the local authority has been consulting with residents on its Local Plan.

CPRE’s report, which is based on analysis of councils’ brownfield registers, also finds, among other things, that:

- Every local planning authority now has a brownfield register recording brownfield land considered to be suitable for housing-led development.

- More suitable brownfield land has come forward over the last 12 months, with one in seven homes on up to date brownfield registers being on sites identified in the last 12 months. This shows that brownfield is a perpetually regenerating resource, with the potential to provide a steady pipeline of development opportunities.

- Where councils are failing to identify all possible opportunities and even in areas with a lot of suitable brownfield capacity, countryside remains at risk unnecessarily. This shows the importance of implementing a genuine brownfield first approach to development.

- Capacity for more than half a million homes has yet to obtain planning permission, so whilst developers should get on with building the homes they already have planning permission for, more needs to be done to ensure these sites get planning permission and are developed before greenfield sites.

Government figures show that the proportion of homes built on green belt land doubled from 2% to 4% of all new homes between 2016 and 2017, while the share built on brownfield land over the same period fell from 61% to 56%.

Margaret Greenwood MP said:

“It’s very clear from CPRE’s report that the government should be adopting a genuine policy of brownfield first when it comes to house building.

“We have seen recently that the greenbelt in Wirral is under threat, and this threat must be resisted.

“The natural world is very important to the character of Wirral and vital to our wellbeing.

“We need to build new homes and it is important that we use the brownfield sites available to do this.”