The re-use of brownfield land for housing is a key objective of planning and environmental policy. In recent years concerns with this mater have changed from physical dereliction and urban decline to more of a wider concern of making the most efficient use of scarce Brownfield land as well as reducing the need to travel. With need to provide a substantial increase of housing in the years to come, brownfield land becomes a key area within property development to focus on. The Financial Feasibility and Constraint Urban Regeneration Brings to Brownfield Housing
This report focuses on the key issues and constraints that occur within financial side of regenerating brownfield sites. The issues raised in this report will outline the reasons why developers are so reluctant to move toward brownfield sites and instead continue to generate housing schemes on Greenfield land affecting the countryside, its landscape, and the wildlife. The report will address the financial difficulties developer and land owners are having, as well looking at what the government are doing to rectify the situation.
Brownfield land is by definition very difficult to develop and therefore it is essential that the barriers and constraint that cause any difficulties are lifted to make brownfield redevelopment financially feasible. Developers are all keen to regenerate brownfield sites although with no additional funding any housing developments become non profitable. Presides from government funding developers are forces to focus on high density scheme. If the demand was there for new spacious property with extensive garden, developers would simply not find this financially feasible.
In order to maximise profits when regenerating derelicts land it is essential for the new development to use high density schemes (maximise rooms per acre). Not only are developers forced to produce high density schemes but the same time government will be expecting imaginative and innovative design fitting in with the surrounding environment. Attractive architectural design for housing is more commonly seen in Greenfield development. Developing this kind of scheme on brownfield sites is financially not feasible, the high building cost and low return leads developers with little option but to develop on Greenfield sites.
According to “Prescott’s Greenfield Housing Curb Thwarted” there is Greenfield land in the pipeline for 658,000 houses which is enough to accommodate the demand of the top 80 house builders for 6 years before touching an urban site. Planning permission is continually being granted to developers by nearly half of the local planning authorities for low density schemes on Greenfield sites, which is completely against the governments policy.
This factual information firstly shows that low density housing schemes are not feasible for urban regeneration and therefore proposals of this kind of schemes will only be made on Greenfield sites. This secondly shows us that urban regeneration for housing developments is only financially feasible with high density schemes. A question arise from this when taking in to account the remediation fee (demolition and removal of contamination), even with a high density scheme a lot of developments still show negative valuation figures. Instead of just pushing for urban regeneration, does the government need to provide funding?
Obviously they do and with the correct funding urban regeneration will take off, although with the funding the government would be able to offer, it will still not provide the profit margins that developer are used to with Greenfield sites. Factors for High Development Cost on Brownfield sites Greenfield sites bring little constraints to the early stage of a development. The land at most may have high water tables, soft clay, or uneven ground, all of which are usually easily rectified with low costs. Brownfield sites are some what different carrying multiple constraints.
The sites tend to be old industrial plants or warehouses leaving many forms of contamination behind. The environmental hazards found on these sites consisted of asbestos in buildings, smoking, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and vehicle emissions. In the case of old industrial and warehouse sites contaminated soil is regularly found. The clearing cost are very high as the contaminated hazards have to be removed and taken to expensive specialist dumps. In dealing with contaminated soil, the top layer usually the top three meter is removed and once again taken to a specialist dumping ground.
Were the soil has been removed a layer of concrete is laid with a top layer of soil. This costly procedure puts off many developers as there profit margin has turned negative as well as facing liabilities in future due to the contamination. The cost of remediation can some what vary from next to nothing to half a million pounds. Although it would be rare to see cost at the lower end of this scale. Example A and B show basic valuation illustrating how the remediation cost effect profit margins.