Houses being built

Source: Shutterstock/Duncan Andison

The government’s standard method sets housing targets for the north that are actually below past levels of delivery, triggering an unseemly dash of councils reviewing local plans to try to ‘lock in’ those lower numbers. This will do nothing to help the levelling-up agenda.

Where the CPRE is wrong is to suggest that more homes in the north should mean fewer in the south – there is an acute shortage of homes across the whole country, which is not surprising when our Local Plans are aiming to deliver less than two thirds of the government’s 300,000-home target for England.

It is also wrong to suggest that there is a large, untapped supply of brownfield land that can avoid the need for greenfield sites to be developed.CPRE’s own evidence suggests there is enough brownfield land to meet housing need for just three years – and half of that is being brought through the planning process already.

It is, of course, a sensible objective to make sure that brownfield land is used where possible to build new homes – but greenfield sites will also be needed across the whole of England if there is to be any chance of getting remotely close to building 300,000 homes a year.

Paul Smith, managing director, Strategic Land Group