The demand for housing is relentless, as the population continues to expand and people need accommodation to suit different phases in their lives. Many cities have been densely developed and more land needs to be included in the mix to create space for building more houses.
Delays in housing targets
Targets are set each year by the government for construction of new housing, but these are rarely fulfilled. Often, planning restrictions and delays play a role in this, and the protection of rural land, greenfields and greenbelts all contribute to shortfalls. While conserving rural land is generally considered to be a good thing, at this point only 4 per cent of the nation’s land has been developed for urban living. There is a difference between greenbelt land, which can be subject to a raft of protective regulation, and greenfield land, which is essentially farmland.
People generally want to live close to amenities, friends and work. Preserving greenbelts can drive up prices of land and make properties much less affordable. Some commentators have called for building on greenbelts to ease the housing crisis, such as in this report from The Guardian.
There have been calls for the planned release of greenbelt and greenfield land, accompanied by a land development tax that moderates profits to be made by developers and landowners. Owners could benefit hugely and see land increase in value by up to a hundred times, if it is reclassified from rural use into being suitable for development in desirable areas close to where people want to live.
Brownfield land is another option as well, and having been previously developed, brownfield sites may simply not be in use, or may be contaminated in some way. If you want to discover more about the options involved in land remediation, it would be a good idea to consult experts in this field, such as http://www.ashremediation.co.uk/. Specialists in land remediation should be able to offer tips and advice in this area.
Housing is one of the most urgent issues to address on the domestic political agenda. It is vital that a solution is found, and reassessing the use of idle or rural land may be required. However, releasing rural land must be done in a way where people needing housing can benefit.