Unlocking brownfield sites through digital design and offsite construction

Tom shaw bw 2018

Adopting modern and innovative approaches to both design and construction could help unlock the vital community resource that brownfield sites offer

One of the most pressing current issues in the UK is the housing crisis. 275,000 homes a year are needed and there are a lot of questions on where these will be built. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), recently published their report, State of Brownfield 2018, highlighting that there is sufficient suitable brownfield land currently available for more than 1 million homes. In January 2018, the new Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that 310 local authorities had published brownfield registers identifying 26,000 hectares of brownfield land, and the CPRE have shown that this can be extrapolated further for unpublished registers.

We are also seeing regional plans taking a similar approach. The recent Draft New London Plan also backs development of brownfield land and intensification of the suburbs of London, through boroughs making proactive use of brownfield registers to increase planning certainty for those wishing to build new homes.

It can be easily recognised that we should not be sacrificing greenfield land for development when we are not maximising the potential of existing brownfield sites. Arguably, we still need to have some grown-up conversations about land that is currently designated green-belt that clearly does not provide the benefits. However, until such a time we must make best use of the land that is available and not up for debate.

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