England could build 2.3 million homes if land ‘incorrectly’ classified as Green Belt was made available for development, according to property developer StripeHomes.
England’s Green Belt land currently covers 1.7 million hectares, equivalent to almost 17 billion square feet.
There large areas, particularly those classed as ‘Metropolitan Green Belt’, that some believe have been wrongly classified and could help when it comes to solving the housing crisis.
Just 1% of the nation’s 17bn square feet of Green Belt is amounts to 169 million square feet of land.
James Forrester, managing director of StripeHomes, said: “Building on England’s Green Belt land should be a last resort when all else fails but it’s fair to say that failure is an understatement when it comes to the government’s attempts to address the current housing crisis.
“It’s also fair to say that there are large areas of Green Belt land that have been wrongly classified and are actually made up of former industrial sites and other plots that bring little benefit to the wider area in their current state.
“Utilising these wrongly classified plots could help deliver a great deal more homes and address the current housing crisis and, as our research shows, just 1% could go a long way.
“What’s more, wise and conscientious development on such plots of land could actually make the space ‘greener’ and more sustainable, as well as bringing greater benefit to the wider community.”
In England’s South East, there are 356,000 hectares of Green Belt land. Using the same calculation as above, using just 1% of this land is enough to build more than 484,000 new homes with a combined value of £207.5 billion.
1% of West Midlands Green Belt is enough for 361,000 new homes; 1% of the land in Yorkshire & Humber is enough space for 357,000 new homes; and 1% of the North West’s 256,000 hectares of Green Belt land is room enough for more than 348,000 new homes.