So how better to see out 2013 than with a pop at the Sunday Times? I’ve only just got round to reading the last edition of 2013 (29-12), so initially missed the article on page 16 (“Nearly half of new homes are built on greenfield sites”).
I’m sure the journalist means well, but as statements in the bleeding obvious go, it takes some beating. Guess what – there are now less homes being built on brownfield sites than in 2008. Of course, the paper holds the Government to account (via the NPPF) for this phenomena – and the CPRE wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t join the bandwagon – but that would be like blaming politicians for UK coal and North Sea oil running out.
Funnily enough, brownfield sites are a finite resource; and we’ve spent fifteen years relaying heavily on them, at times, to the virtual moratorium on greenfield development. It’s been, in some respects, a successful approach (I’ll ignore the rampant under provision of housebuilding and property price inflation), but the obvious sites have now been taken.
So my advice would be, if you want more brownfield development, plan some large-scale greenfield development, and watch it organically replace itself over the next 200 years.
On a not completely unrelated matter, a neighbour of mine has just accepted an offer for an asbestos-ridden double-garage. It has no adjoining land, and it will need to be completely demolished and cleared before anything can be done with it, so the new owner will start at a financial deficit. The agreed price? £80,000. The location? Wandsworth (not Belgravia). The world has definitely gone mad.
Happy New Year.