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Brownfield Land Development to be easier, pledges government

Building homes on brownfield land will be turbocharged under a major shake-up to planning rules promised by the UK government.

Every council in England will be told that it must prioritise brownfield developments and be less bureaucratic and more flexible in applying policies that threaten housebuilding on brownfield land.

The bar for refusing brownfield plans will also be made much higher for major city councils failing to hit locally agreed housebuilding targets.


Planning authorities in England’s 20 largest cities and towns will be made to follow a ‘brownfield presumption’, if housebuilding drops below expected levels. This will make it easier to get permission to build on previously developed brownfield sites.

A government analysis claims that new ‘brownfield presumption’ in the capital could potentially result in up to 11,500 additional homes per year. 

A consultation by the UK government will run until March 26 and the government will look to implement these changes to national planning policy as soon as possible.  The government plans to introduce these changes in London as a result of what it calls “poor housing delivery in the capital”.

The government says it is also helping developers overcome t”iresome bureaucracy by slashing red tape that stops derelict sites and unused buildings being turned into new homes.” 

Legislation has been laid in Parliament to extend current permitted development rights, so that commercial buildings of any size will have the freedom to be converted into new homes – this means shops, offices, and other buildings all quickly repurposed, resulting in thousands of quality new homes by 2030.

Millions of homeowners will also be empowered to extend their homes outwards and upwards, as the government is launching a consultation on proposals that would see more new extensions or large loft conversions not requiring planning permission.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove says: “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.”

Just before Christmas, Gove asked Christopher Katkowski KC to lead a review of the London Plan – in light of consistent disappointing housing delivery in the capital. Today the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has published Katkowski’s review which recommended a presumption in favour of brownfield development.

However, to tackle development in the country’s other large cities and towns, the government is proposing to apply this presumption to all of the 20 most populous urban areas where development has fallen below acceptable levels. 

A statement from the government says: “This new approach will put rocket boosters under brownfield regenerations projects across the country and provide the new homes the country needs, without affecting existing protections including for residential gardens, and ensuring protection for the character of suburban neighbourhoods.” 


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