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Impact of Brownfield Development upon Housing Supply

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Housing
Wordcount: 3869 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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The impact of brownfield development upon housing supply – A case study analysis of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction………………………………..pg.1
    1. Aim ………………………………………pg.1
    2. Objectives……………………………….pg.1
    3. Research question…………………….pg.1
  1. Literature review…………………………..pg.2-4
  1. Methodology………………………………..pg.5-7
    1. Questionnaires …………………………pg. 5
    2. Case study………………………………pg.5
    3. Interviews………………………………..pg.6
    4. Limitation………………………………..pg.6
    5. Timescales………………………………pg.7
  1. Ethics…………………………………………………pg.8
  1. Bibliography………………………………..pg.9-11
  1. Appendices…………………………………pg.12-16


This purpose of the interim dissertation is to introduce the reader to the area of study, by clearly setting out what the author intends to conclude over the course of the dissertation. This will be achieved by identifying a singular, aim for the study, supported by several broader objectives.

Once this has been established, key literature will be reviewed and carefully analysed, identifying any areas where insufficient literature is available. The interim proposal will conclude with an outline of the proposed methodology for the collection of the authors own data that will ultimately assist in the answering of the research question.


1.1 Aim
Establish whether brownfield land can provide a solution to the housing shortage in Newcastle upon Tyne. Exploring the issues surrounding brownfield sites for developers and the local authority.

1.2 Objectives

a) Investigate policy and guidelines for the development of brownfield land.

b) Examine the barriers and drivers to brownfield development.

c) Determine whether policies and regulations are enough to encourage the development of brownfield land.

d) To discover whether the areas brownfield land being re-developed in Newcastle upon Tyne has risen or declined.


1.3             Research Question

Can the re-development of brownfield land increase the housing supply in Newcastle upon Tyne?

  1. Literature Review

The literature reviewed within this section sought to provide an overview of the Brownfield land development examining existing literature on the implications and constraints of brownfield development.

‘The definition of Brownfield land (or previously developed land) is land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure, including the curtilage of the developed land and any associated fixed surface infrastructure. This excludes:

  • Land that is or has been occupied by an agricultural tenant
  • Land developed for mineral extraction of waste disposal or landfill purposes
  • Land in built up areas (gardens, allotments, recreation grounds)
  • Land that was previously developed but where the remains of the permanent structure of fixed surface structure have blended into the landscape in the process of time (DCLG, 2012, pg. 61)

‘The Government has set out its commitment to introduce a statutory brownfield register and ensure that 90% of suitable brownfield sites have planning permission for housing by 2020. Through brownfield registers, a standard set of information will be kept up-to date and made publicly available to help provide certainty for developers and communities and encourage investment in local areas’.

‘Newcastle City Council was selected to participate in a Brownfield Register Pilot with the Department of Communities and Local Government. Pilot authorities will not grant Permission in Principle as part of this project but will work with DCLG to shape and develop policy’. (Newcastle City Council, 2016)

 ‘As part of the city councils local plan development, brownfield sites across the city were earmarked as potential housing sites, offering 21,000 new homes and places for 14,000 new jobs over the next 13 years’. (Chronicle, 2017)

In 2009, the Home and Communities Agency (HCA) estimated that almost 62,000 hectares (620 km2) of brownfield/ PDL land exists in England – as a scale of magnitude, this is broadly the same size as metropolitan Manchester and eight times larger than Leicester. Of this, 54% was derelict or vacant, while the remainder is in use but with potential for redevelopment. In November 2016, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) asserted that existing brownfield sites in England could deliver between 1.1 and 1.4 million new homes. While this figure has been questioned by the government, if viable, it would accommodate the White Paper’s target for the next five years. (PBC, 2017)

‘Local Planning Authorities (LPA) are finding it increasing difficult to develop robust five year land supplies due to the structural economic issues relating to viability (particularly brownfield sites), place based stigma and the deliverability of land rather than the availability of land’. (McGuiness, Greenhalgh, Grainger 2018).

There are several obstacles preventing brownfield from considered as a viable option for residential development. These include physical obstacles such as site preparation and remediation, ‘National and local planning policy is currently also a barrier to development as it does not provide a sequential approach to land allocation which prioritise brownfield development and does not do enough to allocate small scale brownfield sites which have the capacity to deliver a significant amount of housing’. (Campaign to Protect Rural England 2014)

‘Despite these hurdles Brownfield land is often proclaimed to be the solution to England’s Housing crisis. The rallying cry from campaigner is that there is no need to build on Greenfield sites when there is a plethora of vacant/derelict previously developed sites in our towns and cities, waiting to be regenerated for housing’. (Litchfields 2014)

Extensive research into relevant literature has been carried out with the use of Emeraldinsight, Sage Publications, Local Authority data, Google Scholar and internal university library resources; the literature relevant to the dissertation proposal was identified. In is worth of note that of the literature deemed relevant, a small percentage of the studies specifically referenced Newcastle upon Tyne specifically.

3.                Methodology

In order to identify the most suitable methodology to answer the proposed research question, an investigation into various methods of sampling, data collection and data analysis was undertaken. The research paper ‘The Strengths and Weaknesses of quantitative and qualitative research’ Carr, L. (1994) concludes that ‘choosing just one methodology narrows a researcher’s perspective’, whilst Alan Bryman (2006), suggests that there is ‘considerable value’ in multi-strategy research.

Having carried out the investigation following research methods will be used;

-          Quantitative research – Questionnaires.

-          Qualitative research – Comparable desk top case study and interviews.

-          Quantitative research – Use of National Land Database

Statistics and the Newcastle upon Tyne Brownfield Register.


3.1 Questionnaires

With reference to appendix A, the author will create a questionnaire following the literature reviewing forming the basis for the close ended questions with space for any additional information should it be required (Taylor- Powel, E.2009)

This will allow for the collection of data over a short period of time, the target sample will be that of property professionals establishing their view points on the key factors effecting the development of brownfield land. Statistical analysis will be undertaken

3.2             Case Studies

Once the questionnaires have been completed a case study method of desk top research will be carried out involving two brownfield development sites:

  • Planning ref: 2016/1396/01/DET Former Greggs of Gosforth, NE3 1XD
  • Planning ref: 2015/0577/01/DET –Lower Steenbergs Yard, Ouse Street NE2

Both sites have been selected as a reflection of the re-development process providing an insight into the various stages of development to the final usage of the site. It will be possible to measure the success of brownfield redevelopment, primarily has there been a new use established and housing supplied within the city.


3.3 Interviews

Once a conclusion has been reached combining the findings of the data and case studies the results will form the basis of the interviews further expanding upon initial conclusions.

The target sample with be that of the property professionals involved in the delivery of the case study planning applications. Owing to experience of both private and public sector working, the author will use their own contacts to ‘undertake a non-probability, judgemental candidate selection process’. (Explorable 2009)

Research concluded that semi structured interviews were best suited as this will allow ‘[…} defined answers to defined questions.’ whilst allowing for the further development of answers. (Walliman, N. 2010, pg 2850). Having taken this into consideration the collection of the qualitative date via semi structured interviews will be carried out.

It is thought that the interviews will be carried out face to face, although due to time and location restrictions, telephone interviews maybe suggested to minimise limitations.


3.4 Limitations


The author understands that there may be several limitations involved within the study. Whilst some of these limitations are unavoidable, such as bias other limitations can be reduced by better managing the programme of study, factors including time and location can be identified and mitigated against.

3.5             Timescale

Figure 1 – Dissertation Gantt chart Programme

 A Gantt chart is a project management tool that provides a visual view of tasks scheduled overtime allowing for the planning of a project.

The authors Gantt chart provide a structured programme in order to maximise time and efficiency whilst allowing the author to track the projects progress. This will ensure that the dissertation can be successfully completed and meet the pre-defined deadline.

The production and issuing of the questionnaire following the end of the first semester, will provide ample opportunity for participants to respond, as the author recognises the importance of acquiring the primary data at the earliest opportunity to ensure that there is adequate time is available to analysis all the data collected.

4.   Ethics

The author will use Northumbria University online research ethics registration tool to apply for the ethical approval for their research. Research is categorised as being of High, medium or low risk. The collection of primary data will be regarded as medium risk given the need for interviews this in additional to and dealing with commercially sensitive information will mean the proposal will need to be approved by one independent reviewer. One of the conditions of approvals is that the author must obtain consent from any of the research participants and the necessary form is completed and included in the evidence file.



1.1  Sample Questionnaire

1.2  Research participant consent form


The development of brownfield land for housing – A case study of Newcastle upon Tyne



The purpose of this questionnaire is to identify whether the development of brownfield land in Newcastle upon Tyne has increased, providing a solution to the housing shortage.

All information gathered within this data collection exercise will be treated as confidential and will be used solely for the purposes of this dissertation. No information will be publicly published; however this document may be circulated for internal teaching purposes. There is no obligation to answer all of the questions, and any which you may feel uncomfortable with may be ignored.

Thank you for your participation

Q1.  Do you currently work within the property sector? (Please circle one)

 Yes No

Q2.  If answered yes to Q1, please choose from the below options (please circle all that apply)

Member of the Local Authority Developer Surveyor

Planning Consultant Other (please specify)…………………………

Q3.  How many years of experience have you gained working within the property industry, at any level? (Please circle one response)

 >2 3-6 7-10 10+

Q4.  Are you a member of any professional bodies within the property industry? (Please circle the relevant acronym(s))

RICS RIBA RTPI Other (please state) …………………

Q5. Have you had direct involvement with either Christon Park or Lower Steenbergs yard developments?

  Yes No

Q6. Which of the following would you consider to be the main barriers affecting

development of the site:

Land contamination Size  Location Viability Noise Attenuation

Public Opinion  Planning policy/process  land ownership arrangements

Other(Please state)__________________________________________________


Q7. Which of the following would you consider to be the main “drivers” behind

 Brownfield development?

Economic development  Social Improvement Use of existing infrastructure

Existing Transport links


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