HC Deb 20 November 2001 vol 375 cc163-4
5. Mr. Jim Cunningham (Coventry, South)

What proportion of new housing is being constructed on brownfield sites; and what plans there are to increase this amount. [13556]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (Ms Sally Keeble)

Last year, 57 per cent. of new housing was provided on previously developed land, including conversions. Our target is to raise that to 60 per cent. by 2008 through our "brownfields first" planning policy.

Mr. Cunningham

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Will she tell us what progress has been made in the development of brownfield sites in Coventry, the west midlands and, obviously, nationally? I am sure that the good people of Ipswich will be interested to know the answer, too.

Ms Keeble

I am not so sure about Ipswich, but I can tell my hon. Friend that in Coventry, the returns to the Audit Commission show that, for 2000–01, the city has achieved a total of 66 per cent. of new housing built on brownfield sites, which outstrips the Government's target. For 2001–02, the target is 68 per cent.

Mr. John Taylor (Solihull)

Would not it be a good idea to build the national football stadium on a brownfield site in Coventry, and spare Solihull's green belt?

Ms Keeble

The decision about the national stadium will, of course, be taken by colleagues in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. I am sure that they will put at the forefront the interests of sport, and the planning decisions will follow.

Mr. David Miliband (South Shields)

Does my hon. Friend recognise the concern in the north-east that we are suffering from a planning mindset framed in the south-east? Will she take careful note of the many representations from my constituents and others to free up the land north of the Nissan plant for industrial use?

Ms Keeble

I am very aware of the need for a strategic site for new industries in my hon. Friend's region. We shall consider the details shortly and take a decision.

Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate)

What steps are being taken to replace gap funding in the development of brownfield sites?

Ms Keeble

We are obviously considering the issue to which the hon. Gentleman refers to ensure that we achieve the maximum possible development on brownfield sites.