Today has been a special one for house building in the capital with the announcement of the London Land Commission.
The joint announcement by Housing Minister Brandon Lewis and Mayor of London Boris Johnson marks the first conjoined effort between the City Hall, Government and boroughs to free up unused public land in the capital in order to build much needed new homes.
As part of the Commission’s first meeting, it was announced that real estate research firm Savills has been appointed to compile a list of all suitable brownfield land in the capital before the end of 2015. Once this has been collated, City Hall plans to use the data to utilise the spread of sites across the city.
Today’s address and subsequent meeting comes on the back of a number of announcements from Chancellor George Osborne regarding planning reforms implemented to quicken up development. It is hoped that the changes will increase the capacity of brownfield sites to build more homes where they are most needed. The Commission will work in tandem with work that has already been started by the Mayor in disposing of his own land holdings for building works.
Mr Johnson has already released land including London’s Royal Docks and the Beam Park site in Rainham.
As part of a longer-term economic plan for the capital, the Commission will work closely with Government and public bodies in order to build with strategies for developing public land. This will see the Commission identifying priority areas for the future and fast-tracking the process for these regions, whilst being conscious of ensuring a solid return for the taxpayer.
Attendees at the inaugural meeting included London Councils, NHS England, Transport for London and Network Rail.
‘The London Land Commission will build on the great efforts we’ve already made at City Hall to ensure brownfield land that has laid empty for years is put to productive use in providing much-needed housing for Londoners,’ said Johnson. ‘In a city like, with its burgeoning population, it is simply madness not to act as quickly as we can to unlock more of these kinds of sites.’
Mr Johnson added that the Commission’s work, ‘will be vital in coordinating the efforts of a whole raft of public bodies to achieve this important goal, helping to cut through the red tape that has kept valuable land tied up for too long.’
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis also said that, ‘as a global city, with excellent opportunities and links to the rest of the world, there is clear demand to release land and provide more homes for Londoners.’
‘The London Land Commission will bring a joined up approach to land release in the capital-regenerating brownfield land and providing more homes, whilst continuing to protect the green belt around our Capital,’ Lewis concluded.
London Councils Executive Member for Housing and Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock also believes that it is, ‘vital that our overall strategy to tackle the housing crisis delivers an increase in affordable homes for ordinary Londoners.’ He went on to say that, ‘the efficient use of vacant land, whether owned buy the Mayor, Transport for London, boroughs, the NHS or private sector developers, is a key part of the solution.’