Brighton & Hove tops list for proportion of land that’s not developed on

Latest land use statistics published by the government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities show that the percentage of land in Brighton & Hove that has been developed is the lowest of any similar-sized unitary authority in the south of England.

The data shows that just 28.4% of all land in Brighton & Hove’s 83 square kilometer area is classified as developed.

The National Park

A big contributing factor to that is the South Downs National Park, which accounts for 40% of the land area of Brighton & Hove, wrapping around most of the city from the coast.

The twin boundaries of the seafront and the National Park are two of the features that make Brighton & Hove such a special place to live in or visit. They also present challenges when planning how to meet the growing needs of residents from the remaining land not within the Park, but in some cases close to it.

Our developed and undeveloped spaces

Of the land in the city listed as developed the largest elements are:

  • Roads, transport and utilities, which occupy 12.2% of the land area
  • Housing including institutional and communal accommodation (7.5%)
  • Community, leisure and recreational buildings (4.7%), and
  • Industry and commerce (including offices, retail, storage and warehousing) which accounts for just 1% of our land area.

The major elements of land classified as “undeveloped” are:

  • Agricultural buildings and land, which makes up 34.2% of all Brighton & Hove’s land area
  • Residential gardens (17.8%)
  • Forest, open land and water (8.3%), and
  • Outdoor recreation spaces (8.2%)

Lowest development levels in the south of England

Amongst other councils in the south of England which are also classified as unitary authorities and have a similar sized population per kilometer of area, Brighton & Hove has by far the lowest proportion of developed land according to the figures.

Compared to 28.4% in Brighton & Hove, south coast neighbours Portsmouth and Southampton both have approximately 50% of their land developed, and no other comparable authority area is below 40%.

Balance and sustainability

Responding to the government data Councillor Leo Littman, Chair of the Planning Committee, said: “In creating our City Plan we have remained conscious of the need to achieve a balanced and sustainable approach.

“We have to weigh the city’s development needs, particularly for jobs and homes, against the continuing need to protect our environments and the nationally designated landscapes that surround the city.

“We have many exciting development projects underway across the city, and a commitment to deliver high quality and affordable housing - to ensure our city thrives and grows in the future.

“To balance this, we are committed to safeguarding our green infrastructure.

“The policies in the recently adopted City Plan Part 2 reflect this, ensuring that development proposals must demonstrate that they will contribute positively to our green and open spaces, enhance biodiversity and conserve nature across the city.”

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