Log in | Register

London wharves could provide housing sites

Words: Laura Edgar

More than 25,000 homes could be built on London’s wharves, according to new research.

The research, by planning consultancy Daniel Watney LLP, comes as planning laws restricting their use could be relaxed by chancellor George Osborne through the government’s productivity plan. Mayor of London Boris Johnson could be given power over land totalling 209 hectares for new homes.

Wharf safeguarding was introduced as part of the Thames Strategy in 1995 to protect remaining commercial wharves in London from change of use, under the assumption that demand for wharf trade would continue to grow. Daniel Watney though, says that demand fell by 29 per cent between 2001 and 2010.

Devolving powers to Johnson could, the planning consultancy says, open up wharf sites for development, “unlocking thousands of homes and nearly £15 billion of investment”.

Charles Mills, head of planning at Daniel Watney, argues that as demand for wharf trade is declining, sites should be unlocked for new homes.

When demand for wharf trade was growing, it made sense to “shield” London’s wharves from changes to non-port use, Mills said.

The capital needs to build nearly 50,000 homes a year to meet housing demand, accordng to the planning consultancy, but last year less than half that number was built.

“London has a severe housing shortage, one that is starting to impact on the city’s competitiveness and productivity. But what we have here is a golden opportunity to build thousands of new homes along the riverside, delivering much-needed supply and spurring wider regeneration. The chancellor and mayor should seize it,” concluded Mills.