Mayor says Barking and Dagenham’s public land could help solve housing crisis
PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 February 2016
There are several hundred publicly owned sites in the borough which could be used to fight the capital’s housing crisis, the Mayor of London has said.
The announcement comes as the London Land Commission launched a new interactive map – or “Domesday Book” – of all land owned by public bodies.
Barking and Dagenham has 652 such sites, ranging from public toilets in Barking Park to Reede Road Allotments in Dagenham.
Looking at neighbouring boroughs, there are 482 in Newham, 1,340 in Redbridge and 1,049 in Havering.
Mayor Boris Johnson said that across London there are 40,000 plots, which together have the capacity to enable the building of a minimum of 130,000 homes.
“There is an urgent need in London for more homes for our ever-growing population and for far too long, land owned by public bodies has lain dormant or sold off with no benefit to the capital,” he said.
“That simply must not be allowed to happen and we must build on the work done at City Hall in releasing land for development.”
A spokesman for Barking and Dagenham council, however, said most of the land it owns in the borough is already being put to good use.
“While Barking and Dagenham owns quite a lot of land in the borough, virtually all of it has functioning buildings on it – including council housing, some freeholds on industrial estates, some retail commercial premises located within shopping parades, some schools, and the parks and open spaces,” he said.
“There is very little directly developable land because the vast majority has been sold.
“The next largest landowner is the GLA who own 49% of Barking Riverside.”
It is the first time such a detailed set of data has been compiled for the capital and City Hall has promised to analyse it to “unlock and accelerate” more sites for housing.
Meanwhile John Stewart, director at the House Builders Federation, is already plotting the future of the land.
“The next step must be to translate these sites into real-life development opportunities which will boost housing supply in the capital, providing huge social and economic benefits,” he said.
To see the map, click here
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