Green belt housing needed to solve crisis, says Centre for Cities

Developing well-connected green belt sites should be an essential part of addressing the UK housing crisis, according to a report by the Centre for Cities think-tank.

Report says 'least-attractive' green belt sites should be used for new homes (pic Suvodeb Banerjee via flickr)
Report says 'least-attractive' green belt sites should be used for new homes (pic Suvodeb Banerjee via flickr)

Delivering Change: Building Homes Where we Need Them argues that a multi-pronged approach to freeing up land supply will be needed to solve the UK’s housing crisis in high-demand cities for the long term.

It calls for land within and outside of cities to be re-evaluated on its merits and argues houses should be built on well-connected green belt sites within a 25 minute walk of train stations.

The report claims that only 5.2 per cent of the 10 least affordable cities’ green belt land would need to be developed to supply 1.4 million, low-density homes close to existing amenities, and that demand could be met by only building on the least-attractive sites.

The density of existing cities should be increased through the repurposing of brownfield land, the report adds, and national government should undertake a "radical reform agenda" to enable local governments to capitalise on the opportunities.

The report also calls on cities to work with neighbouring councils to identify and deliver homes and infrastructure.

Centre for Cities acting chief executive Andrew Carter said: "It’s clear there is consensus across the political spectrum that something must be done - but we are yet to see any plans for action that will practically address the issue, in a reasonable timeframe, and on the scale that is needed.

"Garden cities, brownfield land – these will all need to form part of the response, but without all options on the table, the fact is that we will never get even close to making the progress we need to see."

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