Less than One Local Authorities Worth of Green Belt Housing ‘saved’ by new Brownfield First Fund – a drop in the Ocean. Would cost over 1p on income tax to scale up to make a difference.


Towns and cities across the country will be transformed thanks to a radical new regeneration programme that will breathe fresh life into disadvantaged communities.

Under plans set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, due to be published next week, derelict sites in towns and city centres will be transformed creating new homes, jobs and beautiful new communities across England.

Wolverhampton and Sheffield will be the first of 20 places that will be supported by government to deliver ambitious regeneration projects that will boost local communities and create urban areas people will be proud to live and work in.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

Here in the West Midlands we have been the real pioneers of a brownfield-first approach to housing, using government cash to remediate derelict old industrial sites and turn them into thriving new communities – all whilst protecting irreplaceable greenbelt land.

£28 million will be allocated to the West Midlands Combined Authority and £13 million for the South Yorkshire Combined Authority, to fund the projects most needed to support local levelling up ambitions.

A total of £120 million of funding will also be given to 7 Mayoral Combined Authorities to transform derelict brownfield sites into vibrant places where people want to live and work. Seven MCAs – West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool, South Yorkshire, North of Tyne, and Tees Valley stand to gain 7,800 homes.

Lets be clear, this isnt new money, it was money already allocated in the Budget and as we reported on at the time iti not new government expenditure simply not a cute in the current departmental budget for brownfield, so does nothing to slow the current rate of greenfield loss. It just maintains the status quo. What is more 7,800 homes are less than the Green Field loss proposed until last week in the local plan of just one authority Hertmere 0roposing over 12,000 around 5% of the district). Many of the areas receiving funding are already popular for house building, rather it might simply mean more family and affordable housing on city centre sites rather than just student housing, which will more students driving up costs of existing rented homes. So lets be generous and say 50% of the houses would be additional net new. To scale up to the amount of housing proposed for Green Belt loss (from CPRE figures), what would cost around 8 billion pounds, or 1.25 pence on income tax. Would the treasury ever permit that when building on less marginal sites could pay for its;lef through land value cpature?

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