The Mayor of London has called on the government to extend its plans to accelerate the release of disused public land to London.
Boris Johnson says this will enable him to unlock new development to help meet London’s housing needs.
The Mayor says that since taking on almost 700 hectares of surplus public land in 2012, he has already moved 87 per cent of it into development. He says there is capacity for thousands more homes on strategic public land across the capital, ripe for development, and these new powers would allow him to take sites forward far more quickly.
The Mayor is pushing a cross-party amendment to the government’s Infrastructure Bill to extend new powers to accelerate the release of public land to London, by giving the Greater London Authority the same powers to work with Whitehall bodies as the Homes and Communities Agency.
Boris Johnson, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work with the government and unlock the potential of the many empty and unused sites across the capital. Rapid redevelopment, regeneration and most importantly thousands of new homes for Londoners could be just around the corner given the necessary fast-tracking powers.”
Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said: “Across London there are empty sites and redundant buildings owned by the public sector that could be much better used for housing. But there is no body dedicated to actually identifying where all this land is, so actually getting round to selling it happens at a glacial pace. First we need to give the Mayor the power to create a 21st Century Domesday Book for London so we know where this land is. Then we need to ensure he has the ability to get on with selling it using his trademark gusto.”