Thousands of homes are waiting to be built on brownfield sites in Birmingham – even as officials push forward with a scheme to construct 10,000 dwellings in the green belt surrounding the city.
A major housing shortage has been used to drive through the rural expansion, including a controversial scheme in Sutton Coldfield, despite there being thousands of properties with full or outline planning permission ready to be built within the city boundary.
Birmingham City Council has 30,000 on its housing waiting list and estimates a total of 80,000 new homes are needed for the city and surrounding areas by 2031. Around 600 council houses and 11,000 private homes in the city currently stand empty.
Between 2008-11, 93 per cent of all new construction projects were on land that had previously been developed. In Sandwell this climbs to 97 per cent, while in Coventry it drops to 84 per cent.
Nationally, just 11 per cent of new homes built in 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics, were on brownfield sites.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has claimed there are 440,000 homes waiting to be built across England. But the housing minister Mark Prisk disputed the LGA’s figures calling them ‘misleading’ and claiming there is only around 60,000 houses with planning permission currently stalled.
It is understood there is currently capacity in Birmingham for only around 43,000 homes, including approximately 17,000 which already have planning permission.
Even if all of these were built, there would still be a need to find around 35,000 elsewhere, whether within the city’s boundary or beyond in the adjoining authorities of the West Midlands urban area. Birmingham City Council has been told it needs to find space for 80,000 new homes, as well as job creating industrial land, in the city by 2031 to meet growing demand.