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January 16, 2019

London to lease more council land for new homebuilding schemes

LONDON is leading the way in the UK in terms of releasing land for new housing development and encouraging institutional investment in the city’s residential property market.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has pledged to release all City Hall-owned land for development by the end of his Mayoral term in 2016 and almost all these sites are now up for development.

They include the regeneration of four former hospital sites and industrial land at Greenwich Peninsula and Barking Riverside. Around 50,000 homes will be delivered on City Hall's land interests.

In the latest announcement a total of 3,500 new homes, a school and a park will transform a disused Parcelforce depot in east London on a 10-hectare site in Stephenson Street, Newham. It will also include nearly 30,000 square feet of retail space.

The development will provide homes to buy and rent, including a significant proportion of shared ownership and purpose built private rented homes. More than 1,200 of the 3,500 homes will be affordable.

It is part of the Johnson's wider push to strengthen institutional investment in the residential market in London, with City Hall initiatives aimed at boosting both shared ownership and purpose-built private rent.

“This huge chunk of disused land will be put to the best possible use, creating a whole new neighbourhood including 3,500 much needed new homes, a new school and a park. This ambitious development will help to further the continuing transformation of east London as part of our Olympic legacy,” said Johnson.

Chairman of the Berkeley Group Tony Pidgley, said that the Stephenson Street development will be a new village for London.

“It will have all the qualities that a successful community needs: shops, workspaces and a school, links between neighbours, a beautiful park where people can play and great transport connections. Above all, this site will create homes for people regardless of their age, background or income. It will be a place for everyone,” he added.

A key part of the Mayor's Housing Strategy is to encourage institutional investors, such as pension funds and insurance companies, to invest in housebuilding. This includes efforts to support extended leases and more stability for tenants as well as top quality, well designed, new developments.

Some 132,000 properties have now signed up to his London Rental Standard, which sets out basic duties for landlords to ensure a higher-quality experience for the city's tenants. These plans sit alongside efforts to boost home ownership for low and middle income households, with the Mayor exceeding his manifesto commitment by helping 52,000 Londoners into low-cost home ownership through his First Steps scheme with plans to help a quarter of a million Londoners over the next decade.

The latest development is subject to planning approvals. Following a planning application in 2016, a site start is targeted for early 2017 which would see the first homes delivered in the summer of 2018.

Stephenson Street was acquired by the Mayor through the London Development Agency in 2004 and was used temporarily for relocations connected to the 2012 Olympic Games, before being cleared. It is situated in the fast-growing east London borough of Newham with excellent tube, train and DLR links.

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