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Housing and planning

Set up to fail: why housing targets based on flawed numbers threaten our countryside

Our new research has found that housing assessments produced by local authorities (SHMAs) are inaccurate, inflated and unreliable. The housing figures produced by SHMAs are not being balanced with sensible planning for infrastructure, consideration of environmental constraints, and realistic assessments of what housebuilders will be able to deliver.

The full report is also available: Smarter SHMAs: A Review of Objectively Assessed Need in England

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Smarter SHMAs: A Review of Objectively Assessed Need in England

This report by Housing Vision with Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design reviews the methodologies used to determine Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) for housing and the problems caused by unclear and unhelpful guidance. It provides solid evidence and recommendations for our report Set up to fail.

A summary of the report is also available: Set up to fail: why housing targets based on flawed numbers threaten our countryside

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State of Brownfield 2018

An analysis demonstrating the potential of brownfield land for housing

We have long campaigned for prioritising the use of brownfield land for housing because we believe it stops the waste of precious countryside.

This research examines new brownfield registers, published by 320 local planning authorities in England.

It follows previous work from CPRE, including “From Wasted Space to Living Spaces” in 2014 and brownfield housing capacity research in 2016, which has consistently demonstrated that there is sufficient suitable brownfield land currently available for more than 1 million homes.

This report shows that local planning authorities have identified more brownfield land with space for more than 1 million homes, and that there is brownfield land in places where people want to live.

If this land is used more efficiently, the sites could deliver even more homes – preventing the unnecessary loss of countryside and green spaces.

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Strategic Environmental Assessments

A CPRE Briefing

This briefing sets out what Strategic Environmental Assessment is, when it is required by the EU Directive and the UK Regulations, and the components of a successful SEA. It also explains how SEA has been applied in UK law and policy. Additionally, the briefing compares SEA to other EU-mandated environmental assessments, and offers campaigners key issues to consider when faced with an SEA.

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Sustainable Development (Policy)

Brownfield Land

Land is a precious resource, and must be used wisely. CPRE supports a ‘brownfield first, greenfield last’ strategy as a general principle. However, just because a site is brownfield does not mean it should necessarily be developed.

Wherever possible, it is generally better to use already developed urban land and buildings than to build on green fields.

CPRE believes we need to tap this potential [the potential of brownfield sites] while protecting the character and quality of existing residential areas.

It makes social, environmental and economic sense for most new development to occur in built-up areas, where infrastructure and services are already in place, or can easily be provided, rather than in the countryside. Brownfield development is essential for urban regeneration. Done well, it brings homes, jobs and services closer together, reduces car dependence and enhances communities. However, not all previously developed sites should be considered suitable for development. Land important for wildlife, historically significant or that provides valuable open space should be safeguarded from inappropriate development.

What CPRE wants:

  • A ‘brownfield first, greenfield last’ approach – to protect the countryside and regenerate urban areas.
  • Removal of obstacles to brownfield development - financial support for remediating contaminated land.
  • A plan-led approach which responds to the needs and aspirations of local communities.
  • Better use of existing buildings – reduction of VAT on building repairs, which deters responsible maintenance and favours demolition and development on greenfields over building re-use and refurbishment.
  • Protection for urban open spaces, wildlife habitats and sites of historic importance.
  • Local brownfield strategies to tackle brownfield blight, identify opportunities for regeneration and ways to overcome obstacles to brownfield development.
  • A national target of at least 75% of residential development and 85% of commercial development to take place on brownfield sites.

Planning

Good land-use planning is the unsung hero of environmental protection. It can encourage urban regeneration, curb urban sprawl, help slow the growth in road traffic, protect the beauty and tranquillity of the countryside and safeguard wildlife habitats.

Effective planning is more important now than ever before with economic pressures and a growing population leading to more development intruding into the countryside.

Precious Green Belt land is being eaten away despite a Government commitment to protect it. Proposed new legislation concerning the planning for major infrastructure projects presents a serious challenge to the integrity of the planning system.

Find out more

• CPRE's policy on brownfield land 
• Planning resources
• Planning campaign briefings

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Targeting the countryside

The impact of housing land supply requirements on green spaces and local democracy

Our new research paper shows how a loophole in national planning guidance is allowing developers to bypass local democracy and gain planning permission for large housing developments in the countryside. Our paper was informed by a full research report commissioned by CPRE from respected consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff which is also available below.

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The Bigger Picture

The case for strategic planning

This report sets out the case for retaining some form of strategic planning alongside newly empowered local councils and communities. Strategic planning works across local boundaries and is essential to protect the Green Belt and promote urban regeneration, and to co-ordinate development, service delivery, landscape management and conservation of the natural, historic and cultural environment.

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The Facts About Planning Appeals

What happens when an applicant appeals against the decision made on a planning application ? and how you can continue to campaign at the appeals stage

If a planning application is refused permission, or conditions are attached to the permission that restrict the development in some way, the applicant may decide to appeal. Only the individual or company who submitted the planning application has the right to launch an appeal against a planning decision. This guide explains the appeals process and how to prepare an effective case to influence any further decision. In doing so, you can help prevent bad development and boost the prospects of good
development.

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The Great Landbanking Carve-up

A very risky investment which messes up the countryside

Hundreds of pieces of English countryside are being sold direct to the public, both in the UK and overseas, as a supposedly surefire way of making large amounts of money from the land being built on in future. These so called ‘landbanking’ schemes have sprung up in recent years aimed at gullible punters across the globe and they are starting to mess up the countryside. This briefing presents the results of a CPRE investigation that has found  over 30 landbanking operations marketing plots on over 200 sites across England's countryside.

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