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Amberfield land 'would boost homes'

A new land classification should be introduced to boost h ousing supply and development opportunities, according to a new report.

The creation of so-called a mberfield sites is vital to the UK's economic growth, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) has claimed.

Under its proposals, local authorities will be required to designate a set quota of amberfield land, which would have to be developed within five years.

The study found that brownfield and greenfield classifications block or slow development and growth.

It is hoped that amberfield sites would enable homes to be built faster and reduce costs, while providing certainty to investors and encouraging local infrastructure improvements.

Jeremy Blackburn, Rics head of policy, said: " A new classification labelled amberfield would speed up the delivery of appropriate housing stock.

"The housing market plays a fundamental part in the UK economy and adequate, affordable housing supply is vital to the UK's economic growth. The planning system needs to be responsive to the needs of customers and increased confidence is needed in which sites can be taken forward.

"We would suggest a quota of 50% amberfield for most local authorities as it would enable them to deliver the appropriate housing stock required, but it is important to match the quota to the needs of the local community.

"Housing must be a common theme across a range of policy areas, and the actions we are calling for would add real impetus to housing delivery. Successive governments have failed to achieve delivery of the appropriate housing stock we require and we need reform now to give certainty for long-term investment."

The Property in Politics report is the result of the largest consultation ever undertaken by Rics, with property professionals from across England discussing what actions should be taken in response to challenges in housing, planning, development and construction.

The study made a dozen recommendations in total, including the promotion of Olympic-style infrastructure delivery partners, the introduction of a construction skills investment charter and the implementation of development delivery units and housing zones.

A spokesman from the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "This Government has simplified the planning system and given elected councils more powers to determine where new homes should and shouldn't go via Local Plans.

"Our locally-led planning system is working, with 216,000 homes being given planning permission in England last year."

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