Property bosses call for two new London suburbs

Marion Dakers
BUILDING new suburbs in the Lea Valley and Chessington, selling off more public land to developers and allowing more skyscrapers are among the suggestions put forward by a panel of property heads as possible solutions to London’s housing shortage.

A dozen property bosses brought together by business group London First have also recommended stricter house-building targets and incentives for boroughs in a report out today.

The panel called for local authorities to be given more powers to borrow against their housing stock, providing a source of cash to build more properties.

They also said a modern version of the Domesday Book could be drafted to pick out land owned by any public body that would better serve the city as privately-built housing.

And much more densely-packed homes, possibly along the lines of the skyscrapers of New York and Hong Kong, could help make the most of the available space in the city.

London will be home to 10m people by 2030, up from 8.17m in 2011.

The Mayor of London has set a goal of 42,000 new homes built a year over the coming decade, which many experts fear will not keep pace with estimated demand of at least 50,000 a year.

“We need political will and real leadership on this, because marginal change will not deliver the step change in house building that London needs,” said Roger Bright, the former chief executive of the Crown Estate who chaired the panel.

“This is hampering the capital’s economic and physical growth and will continue to do so unless the real obstacles to getting more homes built are tackled,” he said.