The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has called on councils to make use of derelict and vacant land for the regeneration of towns and the provision of new homes.
The environmental group wants authorities to make use of so-called ‘brownfield land’ – land that has previously been built on, and now sits derelict or vacant – to accommodate more than one million new homes.
In Scarborough alone, 50 sites have been identified that could hold up to 1,048 new homes in the borough.
Of these, 956 have been classed as “shovel ready” and could deliver new homes within five years, the CPRE claims.
Sites identified include the former Yorkshire Coast College site in Lady Edith’s Drive, which was recently the subject of an outline planning permission for 139 homes; Filey Road Sports Centre; and Bagdale Garage in Whitby.
Read HERE about plans for 139 homes on the Yorkshire Coast College site
The CPRE adds that prioritising this land, which councils have shown is ready and waiting to be redeveloped, would not only help to transform run-down areas, and provide more homes, but also prevent the unnecessary loss of precious countryside and green spaces for housing.
The figures have been included on the updated Brownfield Land Registers.
The CPRE says it fears that the definition of ‘previously developed land’ given in the registers’ regulations means that a large number of sites are currently being missed, and the full potential of the registers to bring forward as much suitable brownfield land for housing as possible is not being met.
The group is also hoping that by prioritising brownfield sites it will stop councils focusing on greenbelt land – areas of largely undeveloped, wild, or agricultural land outside of towns or in the countryside.
Rebecca Pullinger, planning campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “Building on brownfield land presents a fantastic opportunity to simultaneously remove local eyesores and breathe new life into areas crying out for regeneration.
“It will help to limit the amount of countryside lost to development, and build more homes in areas where people want to live, with infrastructure, amenities and services already in place.
“Councils have worked hard to identify space suitable for more than one million new homes.
“But until we have a brownfield first approach to development, and all types of previously developed land are considered, a large number of sites that could be transformed into desperately needed new homes will continue to be overlooked.
“The government, local councils and house builders must work hard to bring these sites forward for development and get building.”