Council motion: Restoring funding for brownfield development

The following motion looks at the difficulties in developing brownfield sites and how additional funding (restored from previously promised levels) would help to promote and accelerate the development of brownfield sites. The motion was put forward by Liberal Democrat councillors on Oldham Council.

Council notes that:

  • The Conservative Government in its white paper ‘Fixing our Broken Housing Market’ stated that more homes should be built ‘by maximising the contribution from brownfield sites’.
  • Brownfield sites suffer from significant contamination, whether below-ground or in a building’s construction, which is the result of previous industrial use as cotton mills; chemical and coal gas plants; coal mines; and dye works.
  • Decontaminating such sites is very expensive at an average cost of £250,000 per acre and this cost often renders housing developments affordable.
  • According to Department of Trade figures, approximately 1 million acres of brownfield sites are contaminated.
  • Much of this land is in Northern towns, like Oldham, a legacy of their industrial past.
  • In the Outline Housing Package agreed between the ten Greater Manchester authorities and the Conservative Government in 2017, a ‘land fund’ worth up to £50 million was pledged by central government to support the development of housing on brownfield sites by paying for the cost of remediation.
  • The Conservative Government has recently reneged on this pledge. Council condemns the decision by the Conservative Government to withdraw its offer of the Outline Housing Package, which will make the delivery of new homes on brownfield sites unaffordable and force more development onto the Green Belt, a direct contradiction of the Government’s own stated policy.

Council resolves to ask the Chief Executive to:

  • Write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Housing urging the minister to restore the Outline Housing Package to fund the remediation of brownfield sites in Greater Manchester
  • Copy in our local MPs, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, the leaders of the other Greater Manchester local authorities and the Chair of the Local Government Association asking them for their support for Oldham’s position.

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