London Housing Crisis Driven By Poor Planning & Stockpiling Land

London’s housing crisis could be down to poor planning and a reluctance to release surplus land, according to a new report.

Sir Mark Boleat, a former policy chairman of the City of London Corporation, points to factors such as policies on land use, public sector bodies holding onto land, and weak infrastructures as restricting the supply of new housing.

He goes on to dismiss the notion that foreign property investors are to blame for the housing shortage, regarding it as nothing more than a myth.

The report, written for the Housing and Finance Institute, highlights a number of tests that must be passed in order for housing to be developed, which “can be problematic” and that “each carries with it a degree of uncertainty and therefore risk.”

For example, the land must be either owned or capable of being bought by a developer, rather than being owned privately. Another is that there must be the necessary infrastructure in place for the housing to be built.

He believes there are five requirements in order to solve the problem, the first of which pointing to “people influential in the debate” making false assertions:

“The first requirement is for there to be an honest debate, based on evidence not assertation,” the report says.

The remaining factors highlighted by Sir Boleat are for more land to be made available, simplifying the “expensive and time consuming” viability assessment processes, changing the bias towards locally elected members of developments, and reassessing current planning conditions.