What is ‘grey belt’ land and why does it matter?

new homes

You may have heard the new Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, speaking about the new government’s pledge to build on the UK’s ‘grey belt’ – but what does it mean and why does it matter?

To understand ‘grey belt’, first we need to look at three other types of land: brownfield, greenfield and Green Belt.

Brownfield, greenfield and green belt land

When you see a piece of land which had something built on it before and is being built on again, this is a brownfield site. These are often industrial or urban sites.

Our property PR experts have worked on projects on brownfield land which have involved old warehouses, multi-storey car parks and office buildings being demolished for the land to be turned into new communities.

According to Homes England, 54% of all new homes built in England in 2021/22 were built on brownfield land.

If a piece of land has not been built on before, it is known as greenfield land.

There is also another type of land called green belt land. This is land which is intended to be kept green and undeveloped to stop towns and cities becoming so big that they merge into one another, known as ‘urban sprawl’.

Green belt is a type of protected land and there are rules restricting the building of new homes on it.

So what is the ‘grey belt’ land?

The green belt includes both greenfield and brownfield land, and the new government says there are parts of it which are “lower quality” and should be prioritised for development, such as disused or unkempt premises, like this car wash as cited by the government. This is what it is calling ‘grey belt’ land.

While the government says it will prioritise development of brownfield land, it also says that homes being built on this land alone will not be enough to meet the housing need across the country.

So its plan is to also focus on supporting development on ‘grey belt’ land so that more homes can be built to meet its targets.

What does the residential property industry think?

When the Labour Party announced its ‘grey belt’ policy back in April, key industry players including the Federation of Master Builders called for “more detail” on the plan – but agreed that brownfield land alone was not sufficient to meet housing targets.

We can all agree that it’s a major talking point for the property industry and is also relevant to the whole of society – so we can expect to hear much more about it as the new government continues to discuss and roll out its plans.

Keeping up with housing industry news

We all need a home, which is one of the reasons why new housing is never far from the headlines – both nationally and locally.

Our team are experienced at working with new homes developers all over the UK – both national and regional housebuilders, building all types of property.

We use our expertise to help housebuilders to create and shape conversations, build brand awareness and showcase their industry knowledge.

To find out more about how our expert team could help your business, take a look at our property PR services or get in touch.

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