British public overwhelmingly support brownfield urban development, research finds

A new study by Copper Consultancy says that 70% of people are in favour of housing developments on brownfield land.

70% of the British public are in favour of housing developments on brownfield land, according to a new study by specialist infrastructure and development communications consultancy, Copper Consultancy.

A representative sample of 1,600 UK adults took part in a survey about urban transport in the UK, conducted through the YouGov research service. The questionnaire for the survey was designed to provide both quantitative and qualitative information on people’s views about housing developments and community needs.

The report identifies what factors make developments acceptable to the public, such as offering tangible benefits, as opposed to meeting national needs.

The study found that respondents want direct, tangible benefits from new housing developments. In addition to the support of brownfield projects, 50% of respondents said they would support greenfield projects if it improved local infrastructure, and 49% would support them if it provided affordable housing.

The research also looks at how age, geographical location and political views play a role in people’s views. The report recognised that the largest concern in Scotland, the north, midlands and Wales is the impact on green spaces, compared to London and the south, where the impact on infrastructure and transport services is the biggest concern.

Lynsey Kitching, Copper Consultancy’s midlands & property director, said: “The research shows that it’s vital developers explore the potential to create substantial placemaking schemes that are shaped by the community. There is public support for investment in housing, but what’s clear from the research is that there is a need to capture and explain the benefits of a project from the outset at a local level. 

“Our research shows that when the benefits are made clear, the public is supportive. However, we can’t assume a community’s wants and needs, as there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

Click here to download the full Copper Consultancy Public Attitudes to Housing report.

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