This would mean the amount of land paved over would increase from 4,531 sq m to more than 6,000 sq m. The 1,510 sq m increase is more than twice the 607 sq m area covered by Greater London.
Building more on greenfield sites is possible because planning reforms announced in March only offered explicit protection for green belt land around towns and cities.
Mr Boles says: “We’re going to protect the green belt – but if people want to have housing for their kids they have got to accept we need to build more on some open land.
“In the UK and England at the moment we’ve got about nine per cent of land developed. All we need to do is build on another two to three per cent of land and we’ll have solved a housing problem.”
He tells the programme that he does not want “lazy” builders to fill the countryside with “pig ugly” houses. He says: “Land is expensive but to some extent [developers] are just lazy. They didn’t talk to local people or get involved enough.”
A report last year from the Institute of Public Policy Research think tank warned of a housing supply “black hole” by 2025 when England will face a shortfall of 750,000 homes.
Figures from market analysts Glenigan show that in 2011 only 115,000 homes were given planning permission in England, compared with 212,000 at the height of the housing boom in 2007.
Mr Boles suggests that people who oppose more development are being selfish for denying adequate space for their children and grandchildren.
“It’s my job to make the arguments to these people [those who oppose development] that if they carry on writing letters their kids are never going to get a place with a garden to bring up their grandkids.
“The built environment can be more beautiful than nature and we shouldn’t obsess about the fact that the only landscapes that are beautiful are open — sometimes buildings are better.”
Mr Boles adds: “I think everyone has the right to live somewhere that is not just affordable but that is beautiful and has some green space nearby.” He calls this “a basic moral right, like health care and education”.
He risks offending millions of people living in England’s suburbs by again using the phrase “pig ugly” to describe many new estates in a speech tomorrow, singling out an estate in Purfleet, Essex, as a particular example.
He will tell the Town and Country Planning Association: “People look at the new housing estates that have been bolted on to their towns and villages in recent decades and observe that few of them are beautiful. Indeed, not to put too fine a point on it, many of them are pig ugly.”
Countryside campaigners have been on high alert about Mr Boles’s intentions since he was appointed. In September, in his first Commons appearance as planning minister, he said green belt land was only safe from development “for now”.
In January he described countryside campaigners as “hysterical, scaremongering latter-day Luddites”.
There are concerns he wants to rip up the delicate consensus around planning after national policy was set in March.
The Daily Telegraph led a Hands Off Our Land campaign before the policy was set, urging the Government not to weaken protections for greenfield and green belt land.
It is also reported he said on Newsnight
‘Local authorities respond to the wishes of local voters by putting too few sites into their local plans.’
An epitath for localism if ever there was one.
Lets test this projection by our Minister for Central Planning. By when? Land covered by urbanisation is a stock figure, rate of development is a flow figure. Presuming if we hypothetically did build to meet housing need plus some clearance of backlog in a few years we would reach a point where housing supply year on year matched housing need, but the land cover by urbanisation would not stop it would keep on growing. Because Boles does not put a date on this it makes it very difficult to test, and easy for people to attack him as they will say where will it stop- 100% by 2500?
The 9% figure is taken from the land cover rather than the rural/urban boundary statistics and is the most generous of the interpretation excluding semi-urban land covers. If you take the urban rural boundary stats (which are now being updated) we are already around 12-13%. Boles seems to be quoiting a poorly informed Policy Exchange report rather than his own governments official statistics – your in a new job man.
So lets test the assumptions with what little data we have. I must say an official projection of future urbanisation trends/options should have been done, and gis modelled, as part of a spatial planning framework for England, but I digress. If anyone out there wants to pay for a proper GIS based simulation I am more than willing.
Lets say new development manages to achieve a mean gross density of 30 dwellings per hectare, and that the exaction rate, taking account of roads, parks, schools, SUDS, etc. is a typical 50%. That would mean that 100,000 dwellings would cover 6,666 Ha, or around 66.6 SQKM.
But of course not all of this will be on greenfield sites. It would be a great mistake to suggest that the current % figure for developing on brownfield sites could be projected forward whatever the rate of development overall, almost as great a mistake as that in the Impact Assessment for the NPPF which was based on the assumption that brownfield sites were a once for all stock that would never be replenished in the future. That is because brownfield (PDL) sites come forward at a steady rate (a flow) which rises when the market for housing is highest but not proportionately If were to do this properly (paid) i’d do a regression function, but for back of the envelope simplicity lets say that brownfield developments stay at around the current level (the last data we have is from 2010 and the link is broken (even the data.gov link is broken – DMS government?) since DCLG moved to gov.uk sorry) and rose a little to around 100,000 dwellings a year indicating some success with urban regeneration – a generous assumption given current policy.
Lets assume a return to a healthy level of housebuilding meeting housing need (230,000 a year) with adjustments for frictional vacancies and demolitions and other technical adjustments that equates to around 246,000 dwellings a year. If we were to clear the backlog over 20 years or so as IPPR suggest that would need to rise to 300,000 dwellings a year.So lets assume for the sake of argument that we did build 300,000 dwellings a year till 2042 and then the level of housebuilding dropped to 250,000 a year.
This would mean with our 100,000 brownfield dwellings a year the greenfield loss per year till 2042 would be 20,000 Ha a year, around 200 sqkm. And after 2042 16,666 Ha or around 170 sqkm
So how long then would it take up to eat up an extra 3% of England?
England is around 130,000 Sqkm. So 3% of that is 3,900 sqkm, slightly larger than Cornwall. By 2042 we would have consumed 4,000 sqm almost bang on. The Minister for Central Planning has exceed himself, not a 5 year plan but a 20 year one.