UK: Broadening The Composition Of London's Housing Supply

Last Updated: 11 November 2016
Article by John Adams

I attended the excellent London Planning & Politics conference recently and joined a panel debating the key policy interventions to tackle London's housing crisis. My theme was the need to broaden the composition of housing supply in order to achieve the 50,000 per annum new homes that London needs.

My starting point was the history of London housing delivery. 1970 saw the last peak in house building in the capital - 37,000, of which 80% were built by local authorities. In 2015 the total was 25,000, of which c. 75% was delivered by the private sector house builders, and the balance by housing associations. There was minimal recorded new build construction by local authorities (see graph below). 

There has been three consecutive years of growth, which is a significant achievement, however we are building about half of the identified need. So the question the Mayor and all policy makers are grappling with is how to bridge the gap, and deliver an additional 25,000 per annum, and then sustain that level.

To put this in context, this requires the land equivalent of Hyde Park and Green Park, with residential buildings of around six storeys every year. The key is therefore delivering a step change in land supply and broadening the supply chain.

I focused on five key aspects of supply to bridge the gap (see graph below):

  • Public sector land & delivery;
  • Purpose built to rent;
  • "later homes"; and
  • Garden Villages.

Public sector land & delivery

Public sector land has a vitally important role to play. Take TfL as an example. With an estimated 5,000 acres of land in its ownership over the last two years it has transformed its capabilities to develop above or alongside transport infrastructure to deliver homes and jobs. With support from Deloitte Real Estate it has selected 13 development partners and identified an initial development of 75 sites, which are now being brought forward. TfL now has the capability and land to become the largest housing delivery agency in London. The Mayor is preparing a strategy to broaden this to the majority of public sector land owners in the Homes for Londoners initiative.

To maximise the impact of the release of public sector land, I suggest three further interventions:

  • Shorten the bidding process for land. This can take 18 months, but if streamlined can take six months. For example, London Borough of Hounslow selected its partners - Bouyges and the Notting Hill Housing Trust, in six months. Planning permission for 1,000 homes and a new Civic Centre was granted in six months and construction on these two sites has now commenced.
  • Clarify best value rules. The development industry needs certainty when bidding for public sector land that providing 50% affordable housing and other social infrastructure can be taken into account and will not be trumped by higher upfront capital receipts.
  • Direct a return to Local Authority house building. The regulations around local authority investment of housing revenue and S106 and CIL funds should be relaxed to encourage a rapid return to Local Authority house building in and outside their administrative areas on a large scale.

Purpose Build to Rent

We need to create a level playing field for the build to rent sector to acquire land and secure planning permission at scale throughout London. There is the capital to deliver a step change in the growth of this sector from pension funds. This is the right sort of capital - long term and requiring high standards of management of build for rent developments to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction and occupancy - a virtuous circle. This sector could be delivering well in excess of the current annual target of 5,000 homes by 2025.

Later Homes

25,000 of all homes in London are occupied by people of 65 years+. Life expectancy of Londoners is growing - 80 for men and 84 for women.

With huge growth in demand for 'later homes', the planning system and development industry should scale up this sector's delivery massively. Purpose designed and managed later homes provide the accommodation and, where required, care and support this growing sector of the population require. All the evidence points to the huge benefit for the rest of the supply chain - every later home unlocks three moves in the housing ladder and releases a home, and often capital, for the next generations. It is a double whammy.

Housing Supply 2025 - A Straw Man

So what would 50,000 homes look like in 2025?

The below graph is a Straw Man illustrating a broader composition of housing supply in London, driven by the release of public sector land, gearing up of public sector agencies, including the 32 London Boroughs to deliver housing in partnership with a growing housebuilding sector.

A final piece of the jigsaw will be the role of garden villages or planned urban extensions, on existing or new public transport routes with fast access into London. This is the duty to co-operate applied to the local authorities outside London, and ensuring part of London's housing needs are met in sustainable locations in the South East. Our research with British Land 'Meeting the needs of London's growing population and economy' (below graph sets out the recommendations for the planning and development industry in London ) looked at some of the international cities that compete in the global stage with London. We could find none that had accommodated the scale of population growth - 1 million new residents - that London will experience without expanding their geographical boundaries. As a result we recommended stronger strategic planning for housing and infrastructure for London and the South East.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.