CPRE Northumberland

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Modern low-cost housing Modern low-cost housing © Shutterstock

The Campaign to Protect Rural England accepts that many more new homes need to be built to meet current and projected demand.

Whilst some incursion into the green belt may be thought inevitable, CPRE is keen to keep this to a minimum and warmly encourages use of brownfield sites wherever possible. Local authorities should encourage their use by cleaning them up where necessary. It is estimated that use of brownfield sites nationally could provide enough land to accommodate over a million new homes. Developers tend to prefer to build on green field sites, as these are easier to work, but CPRE considers that this desire should not be allowed to take precedence over the need to preserve England’s beautiful but diminishing countryside. 

In Northumberland there is an assumption by the County Council that some 24,000 new houses need to be built over the next 15 years to keep abreast of what is needed, and the county’s core strategy is based on this assumption. In common with other organisations whose objectives are similar, CPRE considers that this is an over-estimate of what is needed. We are not against really necessary new homes being built but are concerned that projections should be based on actual need, using the most accurate estimates available of current shortfall and population growth.

Too many development proposals are for more lucrative types of housing – executive homes in sought-after pieces of land on the outskirts of Newcastle and the county’s towns – when the greatest need is for affordable homes, including flats, closer to shops and transport. Pockets of brownfield land within the city or dotted around our towns are ideal for this. Firmer planning control would bring them into use, and preserve unscathed the green spaces around and between settlements which are so vital to our sense of wholeness and well-being.  

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