Brownfield First

As Oxfordshire grows, we must be smart about where and how we build. It’s not sustainable to continue building low density, suburban-style housing developments that are poorly designed.

Brownfield First

The focus should be on higher density, low carbon developments on brownfield sites in Oxfordshire. We need to recycle land that’s already been used for buildings by adopting a truly ‘brownfield first’ policy for development. This will not only help maximise the protection of green spaces but also provide housing and amenities where people need them. High-density developments of at least 50 dwellings per hectare, and much more in urban centres, will also make better use of land. These settlements are more sustainable since they support higher levels of services, public transport and sustainable energy sources.

To improve the quality of new housing in Oxfordshire, we must set clear design policies, create a design review for all major housing schemes, and refuse sub-standard schemes on design grounds. The focus must be on zero-carbon development at the very least and we should require all new development proposals to be assessed against the requirements of the Government’s official climate change policy as a general rule.

Development that meets these criteria can be done and done well. Goldsmith Street in Norwich, winner of the 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize, is a fantastic example of a high-density urban development that is both well designed and sustainable. Instead of tall apartment blocks, Goldsmith Street is densely populated with low rise houses and flats, mirroring 19th century neighbourhoods. It provides more houses than a traditional housing scheme while also creating a welcoming and connected community.


Do you think this is the best approach to development in Oxfordshire?

Would you welcome developments similar to Goldsmith Street near you?

Should we be aiming for more high-density developments?

This response was submitted by the CPRE.

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