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Research shows huge potential to use garage sites for new homes

As the wait goes on for the government’s White Paper on Housing, due this month, one funding organisation has suggested that the space occupied by London’s council-owned garages could provide thousands of new homes for the capital.

The research by the firm, Property Partner, claims that 24 out of 32 London councils own more than 53,000 lock-up garages – but 41 per cent are empty or in disrepair.

Four boroughs - Ealing, Havering, Brent and Enfield - have fewer than three in 10 lock-ups let out, and almost half of local authority owned garages are not let to council tenants anyway. 

The firm claims that the total square footage of all council garages in London equates to 16,111 average-sized one-bed flats on a single level or many more if multi-storey developments were built. 

The data, obtained from Freedom of Information requests, revealed that Southwark council owns the highest number of garages (6,624) in the capital, of which 1,891 stand empty.

The researchers say such residential development would have a significant impact on reducing London’s housing shortage. According to the London Assembly, the capital needs between 49,000 and 80,000 homes per year to cope with the projected population growth of a million in the next decade. 

“There’s an even bigger opportunity here to ameliorate the severe shortfall in housing stock. Consider how much land Transport for London, Network Rail, the NHS, the Ministry of Defence and other government departments and agencies own” says a spokesman for Property Partner.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Interesting idea. Sounds like a planning nightmare, but if it could be achieved it's quite an inventive and innovative plan to ease London's housing crisis. If these garages are empty and without purpose, surely they would be better off be putting to use?

    Sounds a little gimmicky, but if the will is there to seriously consider it, this might just have potential. Then again, given the prices garages go for in London these days, the councils might decide to cash in instead!

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