1% of green belt land could deliver 738,000 homes

Politics / Sat 20th May 2023 at 04:12pm

THE latest research from Searchland, the development site sourcing specialists, has revealed that reclassifying just 1% of the nation’s green belt could unlock the potential to deliver almost 738,000 new homes with an estimated market value of £317.5bn. 

The green belt across England currently covers an estimated 1,638,150 hectares, or 16.382bn square metres, accounting for some 12.6% of the nation’s total land area. With the average new-build plot requiring an estimated 222 square metres of space, England’s entire greenbelt could facilitate some 73.790m new homes. 

Its development has long been a controversial topic but there have been numerous calls for wrongly classified areas of green belt to be opened up for development in order to help address the housing crisis. 

Should just 1% of the nation’s green belt be reclassified for housing development, it would enable the delivery of an estimated 737,905 new homes across England. 

With the average new-build commanding £430,229 in the current market, that’s a potential £317.468bn in new housing stock reaching the market. 

The South East is home to the greatest level of green belt property development potential, with the region home to 18.6% of England’s total green belt. Developing on just 1% of this green belt would enable house builders to deliver 137,581 new homes with a total market value of £72bn. 

Developing just 1% of green belt land across the West Midlands (119,347), Yorkshire and the Humber (118,144), the North West (115,063) and East of England (104,306) would also enable the delivery of more than 100,000 new homes in each region. 

Even in London, where green belt land accounts for just 2.1% of the national total, reclassifying and developing on 1% would bring a housing stock boost to the tune of 15,667 new homes. 

Co-founder and CEO of Searchland, Mitchell Fasanya, commented:

“With whisperings of yet another Help to Buy reboot, it seems as though the government intends to maintain their strategy of fuelling buyer demand while maintaining a head in the sand approach to actually building more homes. 

The result of which is a dangerously inflated market and record high house prices that the average homebuyer simply can’t afford. 

The development of green belt land is an unpopular solution, largely due to the misconception that it involves concreting over areas of outstanding natural beauty. The reality is that there is a great deal of green belt that simply isn’t classified correctly and the green belt itself is actually a buffer between urban sprawl and the countryside. 

There have been recent examples whereby green belt land has been successfully reclassified to provide much needed homes and it really does beg the question, why does the government remain so intent on ignoring a solution that is staring them in the face?”

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7 Comments for 1% of green belt land could deliver 738,000 homes:

Nicholas Taylor
2023-05-20 16:45:05

Some self styled organisation working on behalf of developers. There are over 600,000 empty homes across the country and countless more second homes which are being used as an investment. There are also thousands of acres of land which Planning Permission has already been granted which stands idle as a growing investment and gives assurance to shareholders that there is a long term future for building companies (the former Square site is a good example). The real housing crisis affects those who will never be able to afford to buy, those in need of council or housing association homes.

2023-05-21 09:14:37

Nicholas is right: developers land bank. Additionally more land is brownfield than greenfield, green belt. Plus some areas of country are seeing a decrease in population because despite they continue to be run down whilst the South continues to be overdeveloped. "Organise Run Brewery couldn't Tory neither Labour Booze-up, or, in, a" : rearrange.

Adam Taylor
2023-05-21 14:22:35

Nicholas do you own your own home? Why should people aspire to council houses or housing association homes. Why not address the housing shortage and ensure people can buy and own cost effective housing without having a land lord or association over thier head.

2023-05-21 14:27:06

Only 1% now then another 1% later and so on. These developers need to be stopped!!!!

Kim Oconnor
2023-05-21 18:53:48

Adam Taylor, because not everyone is in the position to buy, they carnt afford it, it's that simple. And the way things are going with rises in bills,ect ect cost of living, we soon won't be able to afford up keep of council house... yes it is that bad.

Adam Taylor
2023-05-21 21:56:17

Kim, everyone would be in a position to by id we addressed the issues with the housing market. It is a rigged game in a country where average wage is 25-30K there is no excuse for housing being the price it is. It is set by banks and keeps most people poor but benefits those of a certain generation. I as a home owner who would be impacted say let the bubble pop and the lets get housing back to a sensible price and not an vehicle of speculation

Nicholas Taylor
2023-05-23 07:45:38

Adam, you are quite right of course, housing is seen as an investment by both developers (who sit on land banks), builders (who build at such a pace that there is always a shortage so prices keep rising) and banks (high lending rates, low saving rates) all of course who are making billions of pounds out of the housing market. The private sector has never built this country out of a housing crisis, there are to many vested interests. However there will always be a huge number of people who will never be able to a afford to buy, due to illness or disability or who carry out low paid jobs. The need for Council and truly affordable homes has never been greater since WW2.

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