It has long been known that London is struggling with increased population and a strong shortage of housing as a result, however a recent report has claimed that as many as 490,000 new homes will need to be built over the next decade in order to achieve an adequate housing supply. Considering that only 250,000 new homes were constructed in the previous decade, it stands clear that innovative ideas are required if we are to achieve the construction of almost half a million new homes.
Consultants WSP have responded to this issue agreeing that yes, innovation is of the utmost importance. They have suggested that the solution to the housing crisis lies above the empty space of London’s public buildings, such as libraries, prisons and schools. They have calculated that by renovating such buildings to allow for construction of additional stories above, could make way for an impressive 630,000 new homes- all without detracting from London’s current ground space.
The report developed from a study required by WSP for St Thomas’ Hospital estates in Lambeth. In this study WSP found that by adding an additional twelve storeys above one of the Hospitals, they would be able to provide over 4,000 new homes. Extending the results of this study to consider similar London public buildings, they found that it was very much a viable option and would provide a substantial contribution to the housing shortage. Bill Price, director of WSP, said “this isn’t about replacing schools and hospitals with apartment blocks, it’s about using the existing land more effectively with the added bonus that you regenerate community facilities at the same time”.
Commenting on the matter Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, stated that building more homes is currently the “single most important thing that we can do”, and surely it is time that this is acted upon. Jonathon Seager, Director of Housing Policy at London First, agreed with the Mayor stating that “We are building less than half the homes we need in London and we will have to embrace bold new ideas like using ‘air space’ above sites if we are going to turn this situation around”.
With the current shortage of housing in London and constant supply of large residential projects, we are very busy here at Blueprint- To find out more information about existing vacancies please get in touch with our team today;
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