Untapped space above London’s railways tracks could pave the way for as many as 280,000 new homes, according to new data that comes amid growing calls to tackle the capital’s housing shortage woes.
Almost 2,500 hectares of land on top of Greater London’s train, overground and Tube lines could be freed up, a report by engineering consultancy firm WSP has found, in an effort to build more residential property in the capital.
The unorthodox suggestion is one of many that has been floated in recent months in an attempt to push up housing supply in the capital.
Micro-flats above car parks, homes in back gardens and new dwellings left empty by retailers on the high street have all been suggested as ways of boosting development in the last year.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said that the rate of new residential construction in the capital needed to rise to 66,000 homes a year to meet housing demand.
However, according to recent data by the National House-Building Council, only 2,917 homes were planned for construction in the three months to June 2018, marking the lowest total for that quarter since 2009.
The new research indicates that the London boroughs of Brent, Ealing and Croydon and TfL Zones Two, Three and Four provide the most ‘overbuild’ development potential.
In central London, Wandsworth, Newham and Hammersmith & Fulham also rank highly.
WSP director Bill Price said: "As an industry we need to focus on radical solutions to overcome the housing crisis in our capital."
Price said that "rail overbuild is not just about creating new homes, it’s also about creating new, safe, environmentally-friendly and vibrant communities that such developments can offer. They achieve the densification that London’s local authorities can use as economic development tools to provide growth, connectivity and jobs in the community".