It is a well-known fact that there is a shortage of housing in the UK. The economic downturn of recent years has had a pretty negative effect on the construction industry, with many new builds either cancelled or construction halted part way through the building process. Even neighbouring countries such as the Republic of Ireland haven’t escaped the effects of the construction boom going bust.
Thankfully the British economy is going under something of a revival these days. The government has put measures in place for first-time buyers to be able to get on the property ladder, and such measures appear to have kickstarted the construction industry, which appears to be reflected by the fact that existing property prices have gone up in value for the first time in several years.
Why there is a shortage of housing in the UK
There are many reasons why there is a shortage of housing in Britain at the moment. One of the most obvious reasons is that there was very little in the way of new builds being established as mentioned a moment ago.
The other main reason is the limited amount of space available to build on. We live on a very small area of land in comparison to many other European nations, and many parts of Britain are classed as green belt land – this is essentially land which the government wants to restrict urban growth on.
Green belt land, which makes up about 13% of all land in the UK, normally comprises of nature reserves, conservation areas and encourages outdoor sports and recreation. So if there is a shortage of land to build on, and we aren’t allowed to build on green belt land, where else can we build on?
Land regeneration – an answer to Britain’s land shortage?
One promising solution to the land shortage problem in the UK is land regeneration. Sometimes known as urban renewal or urban regeneration (depending on what part of the world you are from), the concept of land regeneration refers to the process of literally reclaiming and regenerating land from former urban or industrial zone usage for the purpose of developing new housing and commercial premises.
It was recently reported that Aberystwyth in Wales is to benefit from housing schemes thanks to an £800,000 regeneration scheme in the area. 20 flats are to be developed on a derelict site that was originally destroyed by fire some time ago, and £400,000 is being offered for a project to bring empty, uninhabitable properties back into use near the town centre.
Another example of large-scale land regeneration can be seen in London at the home of the new Olympic Park. It was built on former brownfield land and was a 3-year process that involved the safe demolition of 190 buildings, the construction of 30 new bridges and over 600,000 tonnes of soil had to be washed.
This resulted in cleaned-up soil and groundwater which has numerous benefits to human health and of course the environment. London is obviously a pretty crammed-in city, so the redevelopment of such sites helps to make better use of existing land.
Planning on doing some land regeneration? Read this!
If you are thinking of building on land that has since become disused, or was formerly occupied by industry, for example, then you will need the help of land regeneration experts like Merebrook Consulting to tackle any issues with contaminated soil or groundwater, and to do a full risk assessment of the land before you put forward any plans to buy and develop land.