Dominic Browne 08 February 2022

New greenfield developments encouraging congestion, report argues

New greenfield developments encouraging congestion, report argues image
Image: David Burrows /

New housing developments on greenfield land are locking local communities into car dependency, a report has argued.

'At present nearly all large-scale greenfield housing is designed around the needs of the car,' the group Transport for New Homes (TfNH) said, following research visits to 20 new housing developments in England.

TfNH's report Building Car Dependency calls for reforms to the Government's planning policy, with less pressure on local authorities to meet housing targets and more freedom and powers to secure homes that can be better served by public transport.

'We need to redraft the national planning policy to make it unequivocally clear that building around sustainable transport modes is essential for a low carbon future and healthier and sociable local living,' the report states.

'Meanwhile the converse (building around access to easy road access) is counter-productive. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and associated Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) must give much clearer direction on these matters, so that both private sector and public bodies know what to expect and what to do.'

The Government should also release new guidance on transport assessments and access statements to enable local authorities to use 'different criteria when they sift through sites offered by land owners or their promoters'.

Financial incentives should be provided to foster 'mixed-use development with small and flexible-use premises for start-ups, individual cafés, retail and shared workspace'.

The report, which follows on from similar research released by TfNH in 2018, is particularly scathing of the level of car parking provided in greenfield sites, arguing this encourages traffic as well as wastes premium space on tarmac.

'A typical new greenfield development of 3,000 new homes may have roughly 6,000 car parking spaces...A non-urban local authority policy may for example specify three spaces for 4 bedroom houses; 2.5 spaces for 3 bedroom homes and 2 spaces for 2 bedroom homes.'

Brownfield sites in cities were generally 'far more suitable for those wanting to walk or cycle about their daily business, and for those wanting to use public transport'.

While greenfield country developments were much less sustainable apart from a few notable exceptions such as Hampton Park in Peterborough, Poundbury in Dorset and Derwenthorpe in York.

The report also notes that more use could be made of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), with councils employing an interplay of datasets over local and wider areas to coordinate the best locations for new homes with public transport networks, taking into account biodiversity, landscape and other environmental impacts and capacity of services.

This article first appeared on Transport Network.

Skate parks are not the only fruit image

Skate parks are not the only fruit

On Go Skateboarding Day, Susannah Walker asks councils and their leisure and park departments to think differently about what facilities they provide for teenagers.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Interim Head of Fostering

Tile Hill
Negotiable day rate
We are working with a local authority client in London who is looking for an Interim Head of Fostering, the local authority was last inspected as “... London (Central), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Interim Head of Children in Care and Care Leavers

Tile Hill
Negotiable day rate
We are working with a local authority client in London who is looking for an Interim Head of Children in Care and Care Leavers, the local authority... London (Central), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Head of Regeneration and Economy

City of York Council
£59,593 - £68,094
York is a wonderful place to live and work and it is quite rightly famous across the globe. York, North Yorkshire / Hybrid
Recuriter: City of York Council

Clinical Lead, North Essex

Essex County Council
Clinical Lead, North EssexPermanent, Full TimeUp to £57,869 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director Legal,&Governance/Monitoring Officer

Rochdale BC
£70,340 - £81,589
The Assistant Director role has breadth of responsibility beyond legal services incorporating Constitutional and Democratic Services Rochdale, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Rochdale BC

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.