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HCA: 1000s of homes could be built on brownfield land

Thousands of homes could be built on brownfield sites available for development, according to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).Reforms made to the planning system mean over two-thirds of all homes are built on brownfield land and there are ambitions to take this even further.Earlier this month, new guidance was issued by the government to councils on using Local Plans to safeguard their area against urban sprawl and protecting the green spaces around towns and cities.The government has ambitions to see permissions in place for homes on over 90 per cent of suitable brownfield land by 2020, enabling the construction of up to 200,000 new homes.Some 20 new housing zones on brownfield land in London are to benefit from £400 million funding from the government and the Greater London Authority.In addition, £200 million of investment is to be made available for ten housing zones outside London.Councils have been instructed to consider how they will protect and preserve important sites in their area, especially green belt sites, but also other locations, such as sites of special scientific interest and areas of outstanding natural beauty.Housing minister Brandon Lewis said protecting the greenbelt is of paramount importance when planning for new buildings."Local people don't want to lose their countryside to urban sprawl, or see towns and cities lost to unnecessary development," he stated."We have put Local Plans at the heart of the reformed planning system, so councils and local people can now decide where development should and shouldn't go."According to Mr Lewis, support for new housing is growing because new developments are welcomed if they do not ignore the needs of communities.He added that during the last year planning permission was granted for 230,000 homes and the development of the greenbelt is at its lowest rate since 1989, when modern records began. 

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