Windfall sites for housing: An underestimated resource

W Walton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


The current government has stated that at least 60 per cent of the projected 4.4 million new houses required between 1991 and 2016 should be built on 'brownfield' sites. Many of these sites will be 'windfall' sites-i.e. sites which unexpectedly become available for redevelopment during the plan period, Current government planning policy guidance in both England and Scotland places a significant restriction on the allowances that might be made by local authorities for windfall sites when preparing their strategic land-use development plans and their housing land audits. The effect of this policy restriction is to pressurise local authorities into releasing larger areas of open countryside for housing development than is mathematically necessary. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the allowances for windfall sites made over a 12-year period by the former Grampian Regional Council for the Aberdeen area of north-east Scotland and contrasts this against actual levels of windfall development. It concludes that far more open countryside has been allocated for development than has actually been required and recommends the adoption of a more incrementalist and cautious approach to land release.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-409
Number of pages19
JournalUrban Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2000




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