Housing Needs Require Us to Expand Our Horizons for Land; There Is Growing Pressure to Release Green Belt Land around the City to Make Way for New Homes, Yet Viable Residential Development Land Is in Short Supply. Here, Michael Davies, Planning Director at Savills Birmingham, Reports on the Latest Research into Housing Delivery

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Byline: Michael Davies

According to our latest research, which investigates strategic housing requirements in the West Midlands, an imminent land crisis looms for a number of our local planning authorities, including Birmingham City Council.

Household projections being considered by the city council suggest that between 80,000 - 105,000 homes will be required by 2030.

The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) suggests that there is potential capacity for 40,000 homes on existing sites. However, housing on some of these was not delivered prior to the recent recession, which raises a question mark over deliverability.

Although there are also existing brownfield sites being considered for development around Birmingham, emerging housing requirements suggest that we will still need to find further land to deliver between 40-60,000 new homes.

Our research shows that land beyond Birmingham's existing urban area will be under serious pressure to accommodate the city's future growth needs.

However, most land within Birmingham's administrative boundary is either built upon already, or is designated 'Green Belt'.

This means that either release of more Green Belt land or co-operation from Birmingham's neighbouring local authorities will be required. Our initial research shows that Birmingham's Green Belt can only accommodate around 30,000 new homes around the city.

The remaining 30,000 homes will therefore need to overlap onto land under the jurisdiction of other local authorities.

Findings also demonstrate that sites already earmarked across the city, with 22 per cent in Ladywood, 17 per cent in Nechells and four per cent in Sutton Coldfield, may not meet occupier and market aspirations. In the absence of sufficient land within the city, Green Belt release is likely to be required in order to achieve viable housing market needs.

Cross boundary support from local authorities is essential if Birmingham is to supply enough homes to meet demand.

The Localism Act introduced a 'duty to co-operate' for local authorities in order manage growth. However, Birmingham's neighbouring authorities will need to be presented with appropriate evidence to demonstrate that strategic growth requirements for Birmingham have been properly assessed.

Additional land release could also face stiff competition from other sectors in addition to housing.

Around 20-45 hectares is needed for inward investment opportunities such as manufacturing and logistics in the city. …