Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Homes for the Future

Britain is experiencing a housing crisis as homebuilding has declined since the 1970s, driving up property prices faster than wages. Despite plans to release Green Belt land - areas in the English countryside that are protected to prevent urban sprawl - to build 460,000 homes, only 22 percent of those will be affordable, according to estimates by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

"We are being sold a lie by many developers," said Tom Fyans, head of policy at the CPRE, which published the report based on a sample of available planning permissions. "As they sell off and gobble up the Green Belt to build low-density, unaffordable housing, young families go on struggling to afford a place to live." The CPRE said it was concerned the Green Belt - which makes up about 13 percent of land in England - was "being eroded at an alarming rate" and must be protected.

There is currently enough brownfield land in England to accommodate more than 1 million homes. CPRE urges the government and local authorities to ensure that this is redeveloped before any more greenfield land is released from the Green Belt. Local authorities with Green Belt land have enough brownfield land for over 720,000 homes, the report finds, much of which is in areas with a high need for housing and existing infrastructure. Over 440,500 of these homes could be built within the next five years. For example, Hillingdon, London, with 43% Green Belt land, has enough suitable brownfield land outside the Green Belt that is able to be built on within the next five years for over 4,200 homes, representing more than seven years of housing land supply. Yet despite this, development continues to go ahead within the Green Belt in Hillingdon. Over a quarter of new addresses built between 2013 and 2017 were built in the Green Belt.  

Homelessness has risen in England for more than six years, with 80,000 families in temporary accommodation including more than 120,000 children.

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