Building On Brownfield Sites; The Way Forward Or Catastrophic?
During the Industrial Revolution, they had the simple and sensible idea of building houses where the work was based.
In recent years Town Planners have thrown that concept out the window and started building on old work sites as they clamor for green credentials.
If you take my hometown of Eastleigh as an example, we have lost thousands of well-paid jobs in the last 20 years.
With the closure of the cable plants & the print works came new houses, built on ‘Brown Field Sites’. When the railway works, the bakery and van factory shut new business parks sprung up in their place, but only provided low skilled minimum wage jobs,
We now have very few mortgage or rent-paying jobs available in our area, so workers must either take two jobs or travel hundreds of miles each week to find suitable employment, inevitably leading to congestion, pollution, and traffic-related stress.
Councils need to recognise that for homes to be paid for workers need suitable employment within their area otherwise cycle paths, subsidised local buses and walk to work schemes become expensive tokenism.
The following formula will provide some indication of how building new housing developments affect local transport routes.
- An average car is 4.5m long
- Each household has an average of 2 cars = 9M per new home
- 179 x 9m = 1611m which is just over One British Mile
Therefore every 179 houses built will, on average generate approximately 1 mile of cars, nose to tail without any gaps.
Moreover, building houses on Brown Field sites instead of regenerating or supporting local businesses will result in existing residents commuting each day, joined by a further mile of cars for every 179 new homes built on their old work sites.
Eastleigh and other towns around our nation proudly claim to be tackling climate change but have systematically caused more pollution, wasted more fuel from idling vehicles and destroyed more lives through traffic-related stress than have benefited the environment.
Some may say we must meet the housing demand which I do agree with, however more thought needs to be put in to where these homes are provided, furthermore the distorted housing quota system needs overhauling to take in to consideration future reduction in demand when immigration subsides after we leave the European Union, whilst planners must stand firm and not be driven by the developer’s notion to build where the profit is greatest for them.
In conclusion, protecting or generating a suitable quantity of mortgage and rent-paying jobs to support existing families and new residents will reduce transport-related issues.
A policy to build on Brown Field sites can in certain cases tick the right boxes, but can also have catastrophic effects if applied without vision, which raises a wider question ‘should new homes be built on sites, green or brown without sufficient mortgage and rent-paying jobs being available?’