Brownfield first

CPRE has for some time recommended a policy of brownfield first – using land that is now redundant after having been previously developed - for building much-needed houses, in preference to taking farmland.

While many people immediately see the sense of such a policy, the devil is in the detail.  What exactly does brownfield mean?  Different things to different organisations, unfortunately.  The Government hasn’t decided on a standard definition, and even neighbouring district councils sometimes have markedly different ideas on what should be included.

Most people would think of disused factory buildings: sites which probably require some expensive remediation, but which can be put into good use again with some attractive and much-needed housing.  But taking this idea forward – inevitably perhaps – becomes somewhat more complicated.

CPRE Northamptonshire asked our volunteer Chuks Meniru to find out more, and to produce some recommendations.  This is his report.

Photo © CPRE