On 4th April 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on building on brownfield sites:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to their commitment to “maintaining existing strong protections for the Green Belt, and clarifying that Green Belt boundaries should be amended only in exceptional circumstances” in Fixing our broken housing market (CM 9352), published in February 2017, what assessment they have made of the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s report State of Brownfield 2019, published in March; and what plans they have to incentivise building on brownfield sites.
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth: We provide strong encouragement for re-use of brownfield land. The National Planning Policy Framework expects local authorities to give substantial weight to the value of using suitable brownfield land within settlements for new homes and other uses. We ask them to prioritise brownfield wherever practicable, and have provided support in the form of increased loan funding for site preparation, infrastructure and land assembly; new permitted development rights to put existing buildings to good use; and a reduction in the constraints on brownfield sites in Green Belt to allow more affordable homes. Local brownfield registers are bringing thousands of hectares of developable land to the attention of house-builders. Local authorities are also beginning to receive proposals regarding Permission in Principle for housing-led developments on land in brownfield registers.
Brownfield sufficient for hundreds of thousands of new homes exists, but it is for local authorities to use their plans to steer much-needed housing-led development and investment to brownfield sites available in viable and sustainable locations.