Lord Greaves seeks Government Support for Brownfield Sites in Lancashire
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During the debate on Housing in the House of Lords on Wednesday 3rd June, Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government what action will they take to “encourage the use of brownfield sites in the North of England for public and private housing developments?”
Baroness Williams of Trafford answered the question on behalf of the government, stating that they intend to require local authorities to have a register of suitable brownfield sites and plan to provide £200 million to help create housing zones outside of London.
Lord Greaves responded by outlining the main concern in areas such as East Lancashire in the north of England – “The problem is that we have low house prices and therefore low rent levels.” This means that that the return from building new houses will not cover the costs of remediation and building on brownfield sites.
“Do the Government understand that the need is not just for the provision of loan funding to get this off the ground but for gap funding to cover the difference in the cost between providing the houses and what you can actually sell or rent them for?” Lord Greaves asked.
Conservative Minister Baroness Williams brought up the $1.5 million brownfield investment fund but Labour Lord Mckenzie of Luton was quick to highlight the fact that this was to be funded by local authorities selling off the most expensive one third of properties and could lead to the selling of council homes in rural areas.
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton from the Labour party asked the Minister if she would “care to comment further on the question from Lord Greaves about the difficulty of encouraging development in areas where the return for those developing on brownfield sites is hindered because rents and sale values are low?”
“Where will the money come from to help areas such as Lancashire?” Baroness Farrington asked.
The Government Minister again brought up the aforementioned brownfield fund and the benefits of having a register which will make information on housing zones with brownfield land easily accessible.