Friday 13 June 2014
Boris and George are right - let's get London building
Reacting to this morning's launch of the new 'Housing Zones' scheme by Mayor Boris Johnson and Chancellor George Osborne, the Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Colin Stanbridge said: "Following on from the Chancellor's welcome announcement to simplify planning rules to unlock brownfield site potential, the launch of new Housing Zones for London is very promising news indeed.
"London Chamber's recent Housing report* urged practical steps to encourage and support developers to optimise London's unused land to build homes where people want them - inside, not outside, the capital.
"The Chancellor and the Mayor are right to give developers certainty that a site has been earmarked for housing. This will significantly reduce risk when deciding whether to buy and develop a site.
"Similarly, our report identified how the eye-wateringly high cost of remediating old industrial land was turning many smaller developers away. That new housing zones will be backed by funds to improve land quality is an important step to reducing development costs and risks for SME builders."
"LCCI also welcomes the concentration on the transport infrastructure deficit that many brownfield sites suffer from. We believe relatively small infrastructure improvements can make a major difference to whether a site is viable. London's development landscape has many obvious candidates:
- extending the London Overground line to Barking Riverside could unlock 10,000 new homes
- a new fixed road crossing at Gallions Reach could support another 80,000.
"However, today's initiative is not a silver bullet. To meet the immense scale of the challenge facing the capital we need to more than double the rate of house building in London every year for the next twenty years.
"Our Housing report identified surplus land owned by central government that could be utilised for new London housing. This land needs to be placed in the hands of developers willing and able to build homes on it. Further, while many London local authorities want to regenerate housing estates to build more homes, they face artificial Treasury caps on borrowing to invest in residential stock.
"Today, I am calling on Chancellor Osborne to indicate if and how he will release potential sites that are 'land banked' by government - the NHS and MoD in particular - for developers to build much needed new homes on it."
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
NOTES TO EDITOR:
- *Getting our house in order: the impact of housing undersupply on London businesses. Click here to download a copy of the report
- London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital's largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
- Colin Stanbridge is available for further comment and interview.