England has enough brownfield land to build more than 1m new homes, with a quarter of it in public hands, according to a leading property consultancy that urges councils to make sites cheaper for housebuilders to buy.
The report by Daniel Watney found there were 25,000 acres of suitable brownfield land – land previously used for industrial or commercial uses – across England, with enough space for 467,000 homes. Around 157,000 of those are in London, where it has identified almost 3,000 acres of suitable brownfield land, 40 per cent of it owned by councils.
The report, which surveyed only 45 per cent of councils using Office for National Statistics data, predicts more than 1m homes could be built if all councils were taken into account. This figure was backed by separate research released by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
In June, chancellor George Osborne claimed 200,000 new homes could be created by 2020 by pushing councils to speed up developments on brownfield sites. He also announced 20 new housing zones in London providing 50,000 homes on brownfield land.
But the cost can be offputting. “The answer is to find a compromise over the price or accept that some sites will remain dormant,” Daniel Watney’s James Davis said.