Public land in London could provide more than 100,000 new homes

Public land in London could provide more than 100,000 new homes

The supply and demand issue that has priced many people out of the property market in London could be addressed by proper planning that could unlock large swathes of public land, making it available for construction, it has been revealed. 

Savills conducted a new report into the use of land in the capital, looking into the ways in which the London property market can provide the number of homes needed in order to make the supply and demand problem a thing of the past. 

Due to the number of new households being created in the capital every year, be it through students arriving in the city, new professionals moving to London and simply people moving out of the family home, London needs tens of thousands of new homes each year just to meet demand. Savills said that unlocking public land will be the key to success in this area. 

By 2016, it is expected that the capital's population will surpass the 1939 peak of 8.9 million, and by 2050, there are going to be more than 11 million people living in London. This means that the use of public land for the building of new homes for both the residential and rental markets is more pressing now than ever before. 

"The position of the Greater London Authority (GLA) as a major landowner as well as Mayoral powers to facilitate land assembly are key to delivering more homes. Boroughs are also becoming more proactive at managing their assets and building more homes," said Susan Emmett, director of residential research at Savills. 

Savills looked into land available, which included that owned by Transport for London, London Legacy Development Corporations, London Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police Service and said that it had identified sufficient unused land for the building of more than 100,000 new properties. 

"There are some good examples of public land already being used in regeneration schemes to bring forward more homes. One major site delivering a substantial number of homes is Barking Riverside with plans for up to 10,800 homes, including 40 per cent affordable," Miss Emmett said. 

In order to unlock this land, however, Savills said that there needs to be a degree of co-ordination between the Mayor of London and the GLA. In many areas, it said, there are large swathes of low-value land that have previously been used for industrial purposes. 

These could be used for the construction of new homes. However, the fact that there are few transport links and a lack of services and amenities makes it very difficult to bring such sites into use in the property market, which means they remain empty. 

Effective planning to bring these amenities to areas could see them become more valuable as places where regeneration and house building could take place, helping to make sure the areas are able to be used for construction and London can address the supply and demand issue, making it a sustainable and profitable property market in the long run.