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Brownfield and public land

One of our key roles is to work with government and other public bodies to unlock and accelerate the release of surplus public land for the creation of new homes and employment opportunities. Access to land which can be developed is vital in driving successful economic growth. This includes developing and implementing strategies to bring brownfield or previously used land back into productive use, much of which is publicly owned.

Government reforms to the planning system have created a new climate in favour of sustainable development or growth, with a presumption that “development that is sustainable should go ahead” within a framework of core planning principles set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Public land

The HCA is providing technical assistance across government to support the government’s ambition that land with capacity for more then 100,000 homes should be released within the 2011-15 Spending Review Period.

The HCA is one of a number of departments which has published a Land Development and Disposal Plan. An update on the wider public land work can be found on DCLG’s website.

Other departments which have published land release strategies include:

The HCA is working closely with government departments, helping them identify surplus land and develop strategies to accelerate disposal. Support is also available from the Advisory Team for Large Applications (ATLAS).

Supporting NHS Trusts

NHS Trusts in England have identified land with a total capacity for almost 13,500 homes, which represents over 13% of the Government’s ambition. The HCA, in partnership with DCLG and the Department of Health, are offering the NHS Trusts investment and expertise to help them accelerate disposal of their surplus land suitable for housing.

A Landowners information pack (PDF - 653KB) sets out the types of support available, and the HCA are now asking NHS Trusts to register their interest for part of the £190m of investment available to reduce the risks of bringing suitable sites to the market, or for the HCA to acquire the site, removing the administrative burden and dispose of the land more quickly.

Please send the completed form to

The Register of Surplus Public Sector Land

The register of surplus public sector land identifies land held by central Government and its agencies that is surplus to operational requirements. The Register is now part of e-PIMS (Electronic Property Information Mapping Service), which is administered by the Government Property Unit; part of the Cabinet Office.

e-PIMS is the database of Government property and an extract of e-PIMS data is made available on a quarterly basis on From March 2012, the extract has included information on surplus public sector land.

Public sector organisations that would like access to e-PIMS should contact the e-PIMS Service Delivery Team on 0113 203 3809 / 3818 or

Brownfield land

One of the core planning principles in the National Planning Policy Framework is to encourage the effective reuse of land that has been previously developed, called brownfield land.

Developing brownfield land for housing, economic growth and leisure uses protects greenfield areas and contributes to community wellbeing by bringing underused or derelict land back into use.

Of the estimated 61,920ha of brownfield land in England, 54% was derelict or vacant, while the remainder is in use but with potential for redevelopment. In order to make best use of this land, the National Planning Policy Framework suggests that local planning authorities consider setting locally appropriate targets for the use of brownfield land.

Developing brownfield land can be complex, and we are helping to release the potential of some of the country’s most challenging brownfield sites by levering in private investment and supporting local authorities to develop in a sustainable way, for example, through coalfields projects.

We have worked with around 80 local authorities with some of the largest areas of brownfield land to assist them in producing Local Brownfield Strategies to inform their local development frameworks which has provided them with improved intelligence on the availability and deliverability of brownfield sites, how to address the obstacles to their development, and help prioritise and target future interventions.

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