More than 500 potential housing areas identified on green belt

Over 1.1 million new homes could be delivered on the land – no more than 45 minutes away from central London.

Rural Housing Green Belt - AdobeStock_196340655

On General Election day, researchers have identified more than 500 towns and villages in the South East that have the potential to deliver millions of new “climate-friendly” homes.

The report claims the sites, highlighted using satellite imaging, could deliver more than 1.1 million new homes that would all be no more than a 45-minute journey away from central London.

The Domesday Book database of sites reveals, in some cases, hundreds of acres of land, mostly currently used for intensive agriculture all within 800 metres of a station.

Land excluded would be inside National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or sites used for recreation.

The biggest “new village” could be built at Cheddington, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, where 470 acres of open land meets the criteria set by the report from the Centre for Cities think tank.

This includes 274 acres of grassland, 182 acres of land used for horticulture or arable farmland, and 10 acres of woodland.

Close to Ashwell and Morden station in Cambridgeshire, the Centre for Cities estimates there are a total of 447 acres of land that could be better used for housing, of which 321 acres is farmland, 98 acres grassland, and 27 acres woodland.

The report also calls for a new levy on the uplift in value of the land released for development that could raise £82.5bn for investment in public transport and other infrastructure.

Professor Paul Cheshire of the London School of Economics, who analysed the data, said: “Housing underlies so many of the problems in the country today because of its ability to create inequality between generations and regions of the country.”

The report says the plans would eat up just 1.8% of the green belt.

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