Guarantee Public Land for Small Developers to Speed Up Housing Growth

14/02/2016 19:08 GMT | Updated 12/02/2017 10:12 GMT

The question of how to solve London's housing crisis is one of the biggest issues facing the incoming Mayor at City Hall.

Record numbers of homes are being built in our capital and a series of major developments are on the horizon, including the regeneration of Old Oak Common.

But in order to make the most of what our city can provide, it is important to look outside the box and seek innovative solutions.

Major housing developers are rightly relied upon to deliver the bulk of London's housing stock.

But there are many sites across the capital which could best be handled by looking beyond these property giants.

This is why I am calling on public bodies to set aside at least ten per cent of its surplus land portfolio to small developers and self-builders.

My report, Gap in the Market, has already shown that these independent businesses could provide 10,000 homes on disused sites over the coming decade.

And by making a solid commitment to providing land on which these firms can build, we will accelerate and diversify London's housing growth.

For obvious reasons, small developments take a shorter time than mass-scale regeneration. An opt-in policy such as my 'ten per cent' proposal would kick-start house building in the short term whilst the major projects get underway.

At a recent planning committee, I asked estate representatives from TfL, the NHS and the GLA to consider devoting ten per cent of their land portfolio to this development strategy.

Whilst there was some hesitancy to set a definitive percentage, I was encouraged to hear that many pockets of land would be perfectly suited to this approach.

In fact it seems it is widely considered that small developers and self-builders have a major role to play in the delivery of London's housing needs.

If we are to deliver the housing needed in our capital, it is vital that we grant opportunities to small developers and self-builders.

We need firm foundations to ensure a sturdy housing infrastructure for London's future generations.

This approach will ensure we can deliver properties that are badly needed and fill this worrying gap in the market.