Housing the Next Generation – on Green Field Sites?
The Planning Minister, Nick Boles, said his speech, Housing the Next Generation, that future residential development should take place on green field sites.
Mr Boles argued that the Government has a moral responsibility to force councils to find land for residential development.
There is no doubt that demand for affordable housing is outstripping supply; this can be seen with the large increases in property values seen since 1991 when the average house price was £54,626.00(1) which, by 2001, had risen by 63% to £88,791.00(1) and by 2011 had risen by 86% to £165,131.00(1).
There are reports that the average age of a first time buyer has reached 35(2); but what is behind this figure – are we becoming nation of renters? Are children living with their parents longer? Or are friends sharing a property rather than buy their own?
The answer is all three, and whilst the Government and Local Councils struggle to agree on where residential development takes place there are real people out there that desperately need affordable housing.
The lack of housing is also impacting on the quality of life for second steppers; typically they are 40 years old and bought their home 5 years ago. The average deposit they need is £62,000(3), but the average deposit they can raise is just £11,500. Add to that the cost of moving and the challenge for second steppers increases. Which has a knock on effect for potential first time buyers compounding the shortage of properties coming onto the market.
According to Gloucestershire County Council there is a shortfall of 10,000(4) affordable homes with the expectation of an additional 3,500(5) new households annually.
So how do we break the cycle in Gloucestershire?
The first step is to increase the availability of property for first time buyers. There are a range of options available. As Mr Boles states we need to consider green field developments; not to be confused with green belt land. Therefore it is important to consider developments outside of the current urban developments.
Gloucester Brown Field Sites
Opponents to developing green field sites often state work should be done to identify and develop brown field sites; this is already happening in Gloucester and Stroud, and includes work underway or planned development in the following areas:
- Blackfriars – 300 new homes
- Canal Corridor – 450 new homes
- Gloucester Docks – 236 new home
- Gloucester Quays – 1,000 new homes
- Greyfriars – 400 new homes
- Kings Quarter – 200 new homes
- Railway Triangle – 400 new homes
There is also the site of Gloucester Prison due to close at the end of March. The site represents a great opportunity to develop riverside real estate and enhance the Blackfriars redevelopment plans.
- Brockworth – approximately 500 homes
- Ebley Wharf – 120 new homes
- Cam & Dursley – 600 new homes
- Cheapside Wharf – 140 new homes
If we are to provide much needed housing for the next generation and to reduce the impact of families trapped in property no longer suitable for their requirements, the economic and planning environments need to be improved to encourage the development of brown field sites and green field sites need to be made available to developers.
About The Property Centre
The Property Centre was launched in 1997 with its 1st office in Tuffley. It has grown to encompass seven offices in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire; accounts for nearly a third of all sold properties in Gloucester*, and offers a residential lettings service. In July 2012 The Property Centre won their categories for Estate Agency Gloucestershire 2012 – 2013 and Estate Agency Worcestershire 2012 – 2013.
(1) Nationwide House Price Index
(2) The Telegraph 11-9-2012
(3) Lloyds TSB
(4) Gloucestershire County Council – Gloucestershire Story 2011
(5) Office of National Statistics