HBF and BPF call for greenfield and green belt development

Out-Law News | 18 Jun 2014 | 5:17 pm | 1 min. read

Housebuilders' and real estate investors' trade bodies the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and the British Property Federation (BPF),  have warned against a return to 'brownfield first' planning policies and have called for an examination of restrictions on building on the green belt.

The Communities and Local Government Committee held its second oral evidence session into the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) on 16 June. Various bodies, including architects, charities and developers, were invited to submit written representations to the Committee and to respond in person to oral questions.

In its written representations to the Committee, the HBF warned that a return to "brownfield first" policy initiatives "would be disastrous with regard to meeting our objectively assessed housing needs."

The use of such a policy in the past "resulted not in more brownfield land being developed but in less greenfield land being released, resulting in an overall drop in the supply of housing land and a subsequent worsening of the housing crisis in this country", said the HBF.

In her oral representations to the committee, BPF chief executive Liz Peace said that members of her body "would like to see a more serious and sensible examination of whether we've got the right green belt and whether in fact we couldn't sensibly use some of it for meeting some of this housing need."

"I think to some extent the green belt has forced us into providing homes at a much greater distance from where people want to work", said Peace. "Then you have problems of traffic congestion ... non-sustainability through additional travel."

Planning charity the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) expressed concerns in its written representations that the framework had led to a reduction in levels of affordable homes and a decline in building standards.

The National Trust recommended more support for local planning authorities in getting their Local Plans in place and a review of the requirement to demonstrate a five year supply of land.

All bodies consulted were broadly supportive of the NPPF in its aim to address housing need but said that it was too early to properly assess its full impact. The HBF, BPF, National Trust and Town and Country Planning Association all called for more information to be gathered in order to enable the monitoring of long term impacts of the framework.

The Committee's third oral evidence session takes place on 23 June. It will focus on the impact of the NPPF on the natural environment and biodiversity.