Build on every scrap of brownfield before touching green belt says construction leader
The West’s housebuilding boom could be derailed by sheer lack of space coming forward.
Bristol builder Helm Construction – which has lobbied for increased use of brownfield sites rather than building on Green Belt land – says planning bottlenecks coupled with the lack of a definitive plan to identify and develop Brownfield sites will continue to hamper development.
Managing director Paul Evans said every neighbourhood in the city could identify any number of suitable Brownfield sites – reducing demand on our Greenbelt and countryside.
He said: “While it’s good to see Bristol City Council has identified space for 200 new homes on the former sidings at Ashton Gate this really is a drop in the ocean compared to the thousands of new homes required.”
Latest figures suggest housebuilding is leading the rebound in the construction sector ahead of civil engineering work, while commercial building projects grew at their slowest pace for two years.
But Paul Evans said: “Bristol needs a masterplan such as the one introduced by Wakefield Council to regenerate a whole swathe of land and former industrial premises in Castleford.
“The plan recognises that piecemeal development will not deliver the number of homes within the timetable local stakeholders demand.”
He continues: “Where possible we believe we should be addressing every scrap of brownfield land before sending diggers on to open fields, whether it falls within a designated Green Belt or not.
“In order to supply the 250,000 new homes the Government has called for it’s clear Bristol needs to play its part by stepping up its own building programme, which only managed to deliver some 900 new homes last year.
“While we might not be able to earmark every one of the new homes we need on a Brownfield site, we will succeed in reducing the potential impact on our countryside.”
Paul Evans was commenting following news reports on the rapidly increasing number of new homes being approved on Green Belt land in England – which has increased five-fold in the last five years.