• 82% disagree Government is balancing housing need and countryside protection
  • 53% believe the UK is being concreted over
  • 75% overestimate the proportion of land developed in England

New research from SmartNewHomes reveals that public misconception of the emotive issue of new development levels in the UK remains high with 82% of those surveyed disagreeing that the Government is striking a sensible balance between housing requirements and protecting the countryside.

While the Government is still targeting to build three million new homes by 2020, more than half of the respondents to the UK-wide survey (53%) still believe the UK is being ‘concreted over’. Although Green Belt land – that cannot be developed – has increased since 2007, nine out of ten believed it had decreased (72%) or stayed the same (21%) over this period.

The findings come as the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) celebrates its six month anniversary. Designed to make the planning process less complex the NPPF promotes a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’.

The new homes website found that three out of four of those surveyed (75%) had also grossly overestimated the proportion of land developed in England alone with only one fifth (21%) of respondents correctly identified it as being 11%. Nearly half believed it to be three times as much at 30% and a quarter an astonishing six times as much at 70%. Only one in 20 underestimated the proportion of land developed at 5%.

Steven Lees, Director at SmartNewHomes, comments:

“Development issues are still something of a hot potato and there remains a common misconception that the countryside is being gobbled up by housebuilders for development. In fact, 60% of new home developments are built on brownfield sites with the remainder often on unsightly scrub and wasteland. It is a shame that six months on from the launch of the Government’s flagship planning policy, the NPPF, and the promise to get local people involved at the decision stage of the process, the public remains blinded by a lack of available information.

“With the UK crying out for millions of new homes we need to see increased awareness of development issues in the UK if we are to meet buyer demand and prevent an entire generation from only ever aspiring to own their own home.”


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