Compare the suitability of Greenfield and Brownfield sites for housing development

A) Compare the suitability of Greenfield and Brownfield sites for housing development

If new homes were built, then some would be in rural areas and some in the cities. There are major arguments over the proportion of the new households that should be in cities, rural areas, villages and towns. This has become the debate other whether new homes should be on Greenfield or Brownfield land, which are vague terms.

Brownfield land is sometimes used to refer to land in urban areas. A more narrow definition is land urban areas that have been previously developed often for industry, offices and housing. Some Brownfield sites will have been cleared of old building, others will not. Brownfield land can be found in both major cities and small towns.

Greenfield land is land that has never been developed and includes wasteland that no one ever wanted to build on, protected areas such as the green belt, and parks, golf courses and playing fields. There is both rural Greenfield land and urban Greenfield land. It is not the same as greenbelt land.

The target set by the Government is for 60% of new houses to be on Brownfield land. Countryside and environmental organisations have argued the figure should be nearer 75%. The Urban Task Force, established in 1998 by the government argued that the 60% target would not be met for 3 reasons: there is a mismatch between where land is available (northern England) and where pressure for housing is the greatest (south east England); too much Greenfield land is already allocated for housing; the supply for Brownfield land is quite limited, sometimes in undesirable locations and often as high development costs due to clearing old buildings and contamination.

Those who support a high proportion of new houses on urban Brownfield sites claim that it has economic, social and environmental benefits. Urban residents will be near to work and leisure activities will be able to use public transport, this would mean less car-related energy use and pollution. Brownfield development would protect rural lifestyles and the countryside and increase in car use would be averted. Arguments for building on rural Greenfield sites claim that land is usually cheaper to develop in rural areas because it has not been built on before. There is still plenty of rural land. In 1991, only 10.6% of land in England was in urban use and if development patterns continued as they have done then this figure would rise to only 11.9% by 2016.

Much agricultural land is doing nothing. In 1995, 545,000 hectares of farming land (5.8% of the total) were set aside and receiving European Union subsidy. Also many farmers are experiencing difficulties, 60,000 farming jobs have been lost in the last decade. People want to live in environmentally pleasant rural areas because they have less pollution, crime and noise. This includes many of the new households that will be single person households, such as divorced people with children and widowers, many of whom will not want to live in densely populated cities.

B) What are the consequences of re-urbanisation in Brighton and Hove and to what extent has this resulted in gentrification.

Examples of gentrification have been shown in the consequences of Brighton and Hove’s re urbanisation. Gentrification is the process where by sustained buildings in an inner area of a city are bought and improved to become homes for the middle class and wealthy. This has occurred in a number of areas in Brighton and Hove. An example of the renovation of Brighton and Hove is shown at City College in Richmond Terrace, where the windows have been designed with ‘stained’ glass. Previous windows had suffered deterioration through lack of maintenance and investment since the 1960’s.

The main cause of this deterioration was due to the fact that the Richmond Terrace site had very little money to pay for repairs and maintenance for the windows as not many students were taking up the science and engineering courses the site had to offer. This was mainly due to the fact that there was a reduction in apprenticeship schemes. This eventually led to the abandonment of the site. Amenities and other additions made the redevelopment of the site a costly process. However, this was helped by private investments. One and two bedroom apartments have been created within the college and the prices for these starts at around �200,000.

Since the re urbanisation of Brighton and Hove, many sites, like Richmond Terrace, have been recognised as having potential for gentrification. The modernisation of houses in Pelham Square within the North Laine area is another example. These run-down terrace houses now accommodate the wealthy. Private homeowners have gentrified them with no direct intervention from the Council. Gentrification also occurred after the Argus offices re-located out of this zone to an industrial estate. The building was left empty before a major fire in the winter of 1999/2000; this led to it becoming derelict. However, this has now led to it becoming an area of high status designer homes.

Although to a large extent Brighton and Hove’s re urbanisation has resulted in gentrification, there have been other consequences. The renovation of the North Laine area has been sensitive to preserve its character, an example of which is the improvement made to the Sydney Street. The narrow street has been made a one-way thoroughfare so less traffic passes through. It also has a widened pavement to accommodate for pedestrians and has been repaved. There are also sections of raised road to slow cars, and bollards have been erected to discourage parking on the pavements thereby making the street more pleasant.

Brighton and Hove has received Single Regeneration Budget funding from the government for urban improvement because the council has proved to be effective in this area, this funding is also there because the area has been recognized as having a relatively high incidence of social problems and unemployment. To gain this funding, the council must locate matched investment, thus contributing to Brighton and Hove’s re urbanisation and revitalisation as ‘the place to be’.

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