What Gets Built And Where

Remembering the recent outbreak of O’Tooleitis, which said “None of the Agencies have any concerns about flooding, we have heard that so many times in the past, then we go and allow a development, and what happens a few months later we have flooding”.

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And “We have heard from these organisations, particularly the United Utilities and the others that were mentioned, that there wouldn’t be a problem with flooding only to find there is a problem with flooding later on”, left us wondering about public, official, liability for knowingly permitting flooding of developments.

Perhaps O’Tooleitis has instigated a new planning guidance note for WLBC officers? Perhaps a public inquiry will be held into every instance of flooded developments where the doctrine of O’Tooleitis has been an invisible factor?


has released a new report which shows that, contrary to government claims that the current planning system is slowing down housebuilding, we already have enough brownfield land to accommodate 1.3 million new homes.

The potential of brownfield land – land that’s previously been built on, and now sits derelict or vacant – is something that we at CPRE are passionate about. We want to see this neglected land be recycled and used for housing, especially where it can be repurposed and used instead of Green Belt or the countryside.

‘Over a third of these plots – half a million – already have planning permission in place, meaning they’re ‘shovel-ready’.’ CPRE ‘recycling our land’ research, 2020.

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The CPRE Chief Executive, Crispin Truman, said “Today’s figures clearly show that the planning system is not what is ailing our housing market. It’s clear the government have gravely misdiagnosed the problem. It is slow build-out rates and market-led housing that are blocking the quality affordable housing that rural communities are crying out for”.

Crispin notes the government’s ambition to ‘build back better’ and help restore the economy following the coronavirus pandemic, asking “What says ‘build back better’ more than adopting a truly ‘brownfield-first’ approach that will breathe new life into the long forgotten and derelict areas in our towns, cities and villages?

‘As things stand, the government’s proposed changes will result in a free-for-all, allowing big housebuilders to build what they like, where they like, and when they like. Now more than ever, it’s vital that the government listens to local communities, promotes a genuinely ‘brownfield-first’ policy and brings forward more brownfield sites for development so we can build more affordable, well-designed homes”.

Like this brownfield site, below, in the West Midlands. Crying out for housing development.

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