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Brownfield land 'has capacity for over 1m homes'

At least one million homes could be built on brownfield sites in England, a new report has revealed.The 'From Wasted Spaces to Living Spaces' study, which was commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), provides the first comprehensive figure of brownfield capacity since the end of mandatory local authority submissions to the National Land Use Database in 2010.According to the research, carried out by the University of the West of England, a minimum of 976,000 new homes could be built on identified brownfield sites.However, this is an underestimate, as it only identifies land already derelict or with planning permission, excluding underused land on which housing could be built, such as car parks or new brownfield land that will become available.Brownfield land with either detailed or outline planning permission is ready to accommodate more than 400,000 houses, the report states, while over 550,000 homes could be constructed on currently vacant or derelict land without planning permission.Almost half of this vacant or derelict land is located in the south-east, the east of England and London, where demand for new housing is particularly high. According to the study, 146,000 homes could be built in these areas.Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at the CPRE, said: "This research demonstrates the huge existing capacity for housing on brownfield land. "At a time when there is great pressure on our green spaces, utilising this land through a brownfield first policy would protect our countryside and regenerate urban areas."Data collected from a survey of local planning authorities was used to conduct the analysis. The figures reveal that in the period 2010-2012, the total amount of suitable brownfield land increased by 67 hectares, despite 1,658 hectares being redeveloped.  Housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis welcomed the report, stating that the government wants to use the maximum possible amount of brownfield land to build new homes. 

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