A £200 million Government fund to pay for more homes on industrial land has resulted in the opposite effect, with fewer homes built on brownfield areas than before it was set up.
Official Government’s land use change statistics show that the proportion of new homes registered on previously developed land has fallen by 4 percentage points since 2014, when the fund was set up.
Yet over the same period the number of new residential addresses on supposedly heavily protected Green Belt land has increased by the same proportion - 4 per cent.
Separately, over the same period – 2013/14 to 2016/17 – the proportion of new residential addresses on the protected Green Belt land increased from 3 per cent to 4 per cent of all new homes built.
The Government’s record on building on brownfield sites was attacked by Labour which said minister’s commitment to building on brownfield sites was “hot air”.
The £200million fund was announced by Brandon Lewis, the current Tory party chairman and then then-Housing minister, in August 2014 so “councils across the country can now team up with developers and bid for government assistance to build thousands of new homes on previously-developed land”.
Mr Lewis published bidding criteria to create 10 housing zones on brownfield land, each able to deliver up to 2,000 new homes each.
The new zones, which will be outside London, should be large enough to deliver 750 to 2,000 properties and would help councils boost housebuilding on previously-developed land while safeguading the countryside, he said.