DISUSED industrial estates, office blocks and car parks could be redeveloped to create more than 344,000 new homes in Sussex, according to a new report.

The Campaign For Rural England (CPRE) has identified 344 hectares of brownfield land suitable for housing in the county, which could ease the pressure on the need to concrete over green spaces.

The report calls on councils to be “more creative” in identifying land ripe for development including looking at transforming empty office blocks.

Around a tenth of the county’s brownfield land already has outline planning permission based on an investigation of council records by the University of the West of England.

Brighton and Hove has among the highest amount of brownfield land with a total of 58 hectares of which more than 50 hectares identified as suitable for housing.

Residents have nominated several brownfield sites ripe for development in the separate CPRE Waste of Space study of 400 sites in the UK including Graham Road, Worthing, a former community garden in Church Street, Brighton, and renowned eyesore Anston House in Preston Road, Brighton.

Councillor Phélim MacCafferty, chairman of Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee, said the authority were targeting a minimum of 100 homes per hectare for brownfield development – a density similar to the Hanover area of the city.

He said: “Despite the enormous pressure from government and predatory applications to develop greenfield land, which is cheaper to build on, 87% of new residential development identified in the City Plan will be built on brownfield sites.”

Brighton and Hove Conservatives housing spokesman Garry Peltzer Dunn said: “I would always advocate building new housing on brownfield sites before even considering allowing it on any of our scarce and valuable green spaces.”

The report looked at Crawley as a case study and stated that to develop some brownfield sites may require landowners to be “more realistic” about greater development costs while councils may need to marginally reduce affordable housing aspirations to encourage developers.

A Crawley Borough spokesman said the authority was applying a “supply-led” approach to housing land exploring all reasonable opportunities for development including town centre living but also areas of open space.