Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Waste of space threat to countryside

Image caption goes here Image caption goes here Photo: © CPRE

24 July 2014 

Countryside campaigners In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are asking local people to help identify disused land that could be suitable for new homes.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has launched a new campaign to map brownfield land across the country to highlight thousands of empty and derelict sites in villages, towns and cities that could be suitable for new homes.

This area alone is facing demands to build more than 100,000 new homes over the next 20 years.  Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CPRE fears that unless more brownfield sites are identified, valuable farmland and cherished landscapes will be lost under a sea of concrete.

“We have some of the best and most productive farmland in the country,” said Michael Monk, CPRE’s Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Chairman.  “We should see ourselves as the "bread-basket of England.  If that farmland is lost there will be no retrieving it.

“By the same token, we also have some wonderful landscapes and only a very small Green Belt to protect the unique character of Cambridge. All of this is at risk unless we make full use of the brownfield sites available to us. I hope that our residents will act as our eyes and ears to identify more brownfield sites."

Mr Monk says it doesn’t matter how small or large the brownfield site may be - it could be simply a disused post office or pub - but says every potential site could help inform CPRE research to assess the number of vacant sites and encourage the government to deliver the housing needed without concreting over the countryside.

“At the last count, there was enough brownfield land available to accommodate some 1.5 million homes,” said Mr Monk.  “The Government has introduced incentives for developers to build on brownfield land but CPRE believes this woefully underestimates the amount of land available and there are thousands more sites that could be unlocked before releasing more greenfield land.”

The new digital campaign, #WasteOfSpace will run for six months. To take part, people are asked to nominate a brownfield site in their local area and tweet or email a photo and address which will be added to an interactive map online.

Images can be sent by:

  • emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • tweeting @CPRE with the campaign hashtag #WasteOfSpace
  • posting to the Facebook group #WasteOfSpace

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