The fallout from the recent Budget rolls on! I was chatting to a couple of movers and shakers from our area the other day, when one said, “There isn’t enough land to build all these 300,000 houses Philip Hammond wants to build each year”.

Daily Mail readers may be forgiven for thinking that the UK is at bursting point… but is this true?

The bigger picture

60 years ago the first satellite, Sputnik, was launched. Originally they were used by countries to spy on each other but these days satellites and their high-powered cameras are being used for more peaceful purposes. The European Environment Agency (EEA) have been taking high definition pictures of the UK from outer-space to give us a focused picture of what every corner of the country really looks like… and the findings may come as a surprise.

As my blog readers know, I always like to ask the important questions relating to the Rotherham property market.

If you are a Rotherham landlord or homeowner, this knowledge will enable you to make a more considered opinion on your direction and future in the Rotherham property market.

Like every aspect of all economic life, it’s all about supply and demand, because over the last twenty or so years, there has been an imbalance in the British (and Rotherham) housing market – demand has outstripped supply, meaning the average value of a property in Rotherham has risen by 227.94%. This takes an average value from £40,800 in 1995 to £133,800 today.

Using the information from the EEA and data crunched by the University of Sheffield’s Corine-Land Cover project, I posed them a few questions about the local area, interesting questions I would like to share with you…

1. What proportion of the whole of Rotherham has actually been built on?


That answer surprised you, didn’t it?!

In the study, land classified as ‘urban fabric’ has between 50% and 100% of the land surface built on (meaning up to a half might be gardens or small parks, but the majority is built on).

2. How much land is intensively built on locally?

Of that amount mentioned above, how much of it is high-density urban fabric? (i.e. where 80% to 100% is built on – still leaving 20% for gardens)

The answer: 0.37%

3. So how is the land used locally?

Industry: 5.16%
Sports Facilities: 1.62%
Arable Farmland: 56.27%
The rest: various other minor types (such as mineral extraction, forests, waterways etc)

Greener than you think

Rotherham and the surrounding areas are greener than you think!

In fact, I read that property covers less of the UK than the land revealed when the tide goes out.

The assumption that vast bands of our local area have been concreted over doesn’t stand up to inspection. However, the effect of housing undoubtedly spreads beyond its actual footprint, in terms of noise, pollution and roads.

Now I am not suggesting for one second we concrete over every inch of the locality, but the bottom line is we, as a country, are growing at a quicker rate than the houses we are building.

I appreciate the emotional effect of housing is greater than other land use types because most of us spend the vast majority of our time surrounded by it. As Brits, we live our lives driving along roads, walking on footpaths and working and living in buildings – as a result we tend to considerably overemphasise how much of it there is.

Yet anyone who has looked out of the window of a plane above the country realises how green our country actually is.

The bottom line is this: Rotherham people and the local authorities are going to have to put their weight into building more homes for people to live in.

There is going to have to be some give and take on both sides, otherwise house prices will continue to rise exponentially in the future. It’s about balance but if Rotherham youngsters can’t buy their own Rotherham homes, rents and demand for private rented accommodation in our area will continue to grow exponentially. Not good news for anyone.

That’s why the recent Budget emphasised housebuilding. We clearly have a long way to go, but there definitely is room for those houses to be built – in Rotherham and the rest of the country.

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