TOWER HAMLETS Council has announced that it is preparing a Brownfield Land Register – and members of the public are invited to nominate sites to the new system of record keeping.
It all began in April, when the Government instructed Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) – in practice, councils – to keep a Register of Brownfield Land situated in the area the LPA covers. Brownfield land is any area which has been developed before but where what stood on it has fallen into disrepair or disuse – and where the land could be used to develop new residential accommodation.
The Government hopes that the Register will speed up development of new homes in the UK – as part of its strategy to tackle the shortage of housing. However, an area like Tower Hamlets, the Register might just encourage developers to continue to over-develop the borough in order to make more money for themselves.
This comes about because there are two parts to the Register. Part 1 of the Register will include all the Brownfield sites which the LPA can find in its area. This makes it easier for developers to find new sites: they don’t have to drive round the borough looking out the window; they can just ask for the Borough Register, and there are all the sites, set out, ready for them to size up which is the most profitable and start work on a planning application.
However, it is Part 2 which really helps out the developer. The Council can select sites from Part 1 and grant “Permission in Principle” (PiP) for housing development – which will speed up the planning application process when the developer decides to submit a scheme for approval.
Tower Hamlets is inviting “landowners and other stakeholders” to nominate sites to be included on the register. The sites should be “brownfield” and should be suitable for “housing-led redevelopment”.
You may wish to nominate a site near you, to ensure it is included and redeveloped quickly. On the other hand, you may wish to think about the poor air quality in Tower Hamlets, the density of our existing housing, the lack of infrastructure such as schools and GP surgeries, the lack of parking… and, if you can see a brownfield site, keep very quiet about it!
More information is available on the Tower Hamlets website: