Brownfield building boom
Development on brownfield sites has reached record levels as homes are built to meet the needs of those trying to get onto the ever-heightening first step of the property ladder.According to figures released by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 70% of new homes are now being built on previously used land, the highest proportion ever recorded.
In 1997 just 56% of new homes were built on brownfield sites.
The average density of houses and flats on new developments has also increased dramatically, up to 40 dwellings per hectare compared to 25 in 1997.
While closely-packed housing may not be to everyone's taste, the ODPM points out it is a more efficient use of land.
"We are building more new homes on brownfield sites and at higher densities than ever before," said Minister for Planning and Housing Yvette Cooper.
"This means we can build 1.1 million homes on less land than the previous government set aside for just 900,000 homes, saving over 5,000 hectares, an area of greenfield land greater than the size of Norwich.
"For decades this country has built too few homes, with the result that too many people on moderate incomes are being priced out of the housing market.
"Today's statistics show it is possible to build more homes in the right places whilst protecting the environment and providing jobs and public services at the same time.
"We are committed to making better use of existing developed land to build the homes families need.
"These latest figures show we are doing exactly that."
A full breakdown of the statistics can be found on the ODPM's website.
By Sam Bond