Research released today by EDAROTH, a subsidiary of engineering, design and project management consultancy Atkins, outlines the significance of brownfield sites in providing affordable housing where it is most needed in Wales.
The report, entitled “Unlocking Wales’ social housing challenge – connecting home and opportunity”, makes a case for prioritising brownfield developments which not only protect the environment but provide housing in existing communities with access to education, healthcare and local transport.
Two case studies in the report looking at Aberdare and Ryhl highlight the importance of transport links with around 60% of commuters travelling outside of these towns on a daily basis.
The report also calls on the Welsh Government and local authorities to develop a central brownfield register to help identify underutilized land and understand the scale of the opportunity to address the housing shortage within existing communities.
Mark Powell, EDAROTH Managing Director said: “The Welsh Government has delivered an ambitious strategy and vision for social housing, recognising the need for long-term commitment to sustainable and responsible development.
“That said, we feel that a brownfield land register would be extremely beneficial to help unlock underutilised land to deliver the homes needed to reach housing targets across the country.”
In 2016 the Welsh Government committed £1.5 billion to deliver 20,000 new affordable homes across Wales by 2021. Of that figure, 65% (13,000) of the homes were targeted for social rent. According to government figures, 13,143 new affordable homes had been built by March 2019, which means that the delivery will need to be accelerated by 34% to build the 6,857 homes needed to meet the 2021 target.
Across Wales the need for social and affordable housing is evidenced by the lengthy housing waiting lists of more than 64,000 households. What is also evident is that single occupancy households are increasing, and this is expected to rise by 30% in the next 20 years.
Mark Powell continued: “To meet growing and changing housing requirements we need to consider a range of approaches, including renewal of existing housing stocks and the utilisation of modern methods of construction to unlock the full potential of brownfield sites.”
EDAROTH was launched in January 2020 to provide end-to-end development solutions which focus on delivering social and affordable housing at the point of need.
In February, it unveiled its first completed development in Lambeth, south London and has also secured a place on the £1bn North and Mid-Wales Residential Construction Framework.