A development site sourcing firm claims that reclassifying just one per cent of England’s Green Belt could unlock space for almost 738,000 new homes.
The Green Belt across England currently covers an estimated 1.638 million hectares, accounting for some 12.6 per cent of the nation’s total land area. The average new-build plot requires an estimated 222 square metres of space.
The South East is home to the greatest level of Green Belt property development potential says the sourcing company – called Searchland – with the region home to 18.6 per cent of England’s total protected area. Developing on just one per cent of this would enable house builders to deliver 137,581 new homes.
Even in London, where Green Belt land accounts for just 2.1 per cent of the national total, reclassifying and developing on one per cent would bring a housing stock boost to the tune of 15,667 new homes.
A shortage of new homes in relation to demand is often cited as one reason why rents are so high.
Searchland founder Mitchell Fasanya says: “With whisperings of yet another Help to Buy reboot, it seems as though the government intends to maintain their strategy of fuelling buyer demand while maintaining a head in the sand approach to actually building more homes.
“The result of which is a dangerously inflated market and record high house prices that the average homebuyer simply can’t afford.
“The development of Green Belt land is an unpopular solution, largely due to the misconception that it involves concreting over areas of outstanding natural beauty. The reality is that there is a great deal of green belt that simply isn’t classified correctly and is actually a buffer between urban sprawl and the countryside.”