Sixty-seven per cent of all new homes are built on previously developed land at a density of 44 dwellings per hectare. In addition, the average density of new homes development has increased nationally to 39dph up from 34 dph in 2003.

Welcoming the figures, Minister for planning and housing Yvette Cooper said: “This shows it is possible to build more homes and protect the countryside at the same time. We always said we needed to make better use of existing developed land to build the homes families need. These figures show we are doing exactly this.”

The figures are released in the same week as John Prescott and Gordon Brown announced plans to increase affordable housing on former public sector sites across the UK.

By David Hopkins

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