Report calls for more powers for the GLA
22 April 2015, Blog
A new report has warned that the drive to free up surplus public land for housing developments in London will not succeed unless the government hands Boris Johnson more powers.
Although the report by business group ‘London First’ and law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner lauded the move by Chancellor George Osborne and Mayor of London Boris Johnson to set up a London Land Commission (LLC), it said that the GLA needs to be awarded more power in order for the objectives of the LLC to be met.
It is estimated that “40% of brownfield land suitable for development in the country remains in public sector ownership”, and at present, there is very little incentive for public bodies to sell surplus land for housing.
The report has recommended a number of ways to overcome the hurdles. It says that the GLA should be “given the same access that the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has to e-PIMs, the government’s property and land asset database, so that it can assess surplus government land in London.” It also called for the LLC to “set clear targets, including a rolling yearly target for moving surplus land and assets forward for release, which should be set at around 10%-15% of the land identified.”
With a government target to build 400,000 new homes by 2025, it is crucial that the government and GLA work together to all that they can to capitalise on land that is suitable for development.