I've made it clear to constituents that I firmly believe the best approach to solving the housing crisis is through developing on brownfield sites across the UK, while protecting our precious green spaces from over-development.
I am pleased the new Housing Secretary, Michael Gove MP, is currently reviewed the proposed Planning Bill, on which I shared my thoughts late last year. Building on this, my colleague has now vowed that thousands of homes will be built on brownfield land by 2024, following today's announcement that £57.8 million will be invested to build over 5,000 new homes on underused and derelict, helping people onto the property ladder.
I do agree with my colleagues that boosting housing supply is vital to levelling up, and – although last year we built 244,000 houses, the most in over 30 years – we must do more to help people realise their dream of owning a home. However, I believe it is absolutely fundamental that we do it in the right way, without destroying community spaces and our precious countryside. It also must be done fairly and spread appropriately across the country.
This funding boost is part of our £78 million Brownfield Land Release Fund – 53 councils have been awarded funding and the initiative is expected to create up to 17,000 jobs.
This investment will deliver high-quality, affordable homes and create thriving places where people want to live, work, and visit - while acting as a blueprint for how we move forward with building new homes and meeting the demand across the country.
Plenty of constituents are continuing to write to me to voice their understandable concerns about local developments we have seen in Mid Sussex, and the threat further developments pose to our local countryside and wildlife. Our constituency is defined by our open fields, beautiful woods and rural economy, and I am determined to see this is protected going forward. I will continue to highlight this to Ministers in Westminster moving forward, but I do hope this latest announcement has come as welcome news.