The housing shortage in the UK is a pressing matter for the government, which has decided to move ahead with accelerated development on brownfield sites such as railway stations that are no longer in use, shopping centres that have been abandoned, and rundown central areas of towns and cities.
Investment in infrastructure
The government had announced a fund of £5 billion to spend on construction of up to 250,000 new homes, with £2 billion set aside for developing new roads and other infrastructure to make construction possible. Developers will be granted special planning powers to boost building on brownfield land with the aim of creating 25,000 new dwellings on brownfield sites by 2020.
Campaigners have long urged using brownfield sites for home building and have claimed efficient use of these areas could yield 1.5 million new residences, according to a report in The Guardian.
Protect the green belt
The National Association of Estate Agents has supported the government’s intention to develop brownfield sites for new housing. By using more brownfield areas, this will protect valuable countryside and green belt areas from being developed. The Council for Protection of Rural England has voiced concerns about green belt areas being eroded to accommodate new housing developments while brownfield sites were a self-renewable resource that was not being used to the fullest. A council spokesperson said that the government should support local councils to make remediation of brownfield sites a priority, adding that these areas could provide space for at least a million new dwellings.
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It cannot be denied that the housing shortfall must be addressed. It makes sense to use brownfield land that has been abandoned. While it just sits there, it is of no use to anyone, and bringing it back into use takes the pressure off developing rural areas. As a bonus, some of these brownfield sites are in excellent locations that already have all the infrastructure that new inhabitants could possibly need and are not too remote.