RICS: More action needed on brownfield land

28th November 2016  |  12:00am

RICS: More action needed on brownfield land

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has urged the government to free up brownfield and unused land as well as speed up application approvals. It also recommended for owners to develop land within two or three years of receiving permission to build, or sell to those willing and capable to build on it. The government has already pledged £5bn of public money to accelerate the building of homes.

In 2014 the government introduced starter homes, an initiative announced at the end of 2014 which promised 100,000 first-time buyers a 20% discount. But the government has gone quiet on the scheme ever since – and 86% surveyors don’t expect to market starter homes within the next 12 months.

Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at RICS, said: “These are things the government could do quickly that could boost the number of starter homes being built in the near future.

“However, we must be clear that not all starter homes will be affordable homes.

“Building more starter homes is a help, but it is only one way to tackle the huge social problem of the lack of affordable housing.”

The RICS said the national brownfield map must include private not just public sites, and that to free up the sites that are hardest to remediate local authorities should produce developer packs and look at how to better integrate match funding.

Finally it said the Homes & Communities Agency, the co-ordinating body for divesting public land, should issue a clear, long term, nationwide plan for the release of permissible land.