Out-Law News 1 min. read

London has over 36,000 brownfield sites, says report

London Borough councils own approximately 36,700 brownfield sites across the capital, according to an analysis of data from the London Land Commission (LLC).

According to the Estates Gazette's analysis of the data the LLC has identified 39,589 brownfield sites in London. Of these sites, 93% are owned by local councils and the remainder are owned by public bodies, such as the NHS or Transport for London.

Establishing the amount of publicly owned brownfield land has been a priority for the Greater London Authority, with the construction of new housing on such sites being heavily encouraged. The LLC estimate that a minimum of 130,000 new homes could be built on the 39,589 sites.

According to the data, 3,380 sites are listed as active and 1,505 are inactive. The current use and status of the remaining sites is unknown.

Some London councils own thousands of sites. Merton Council owns 6,809 sites and Kingston Council owns 6,530 sites; whilst neighbouring authority, Wandsworth Council holds the least, 238 sites. Both Westminster and Lewisham have not yet reported on the number of sites they own.

Under the Housing and Planning Bill, local authorities are required to keep an up to date register of all publicly owned developable brownfield land. This is to identify available land and help tackle the current housing crisis.

Planning expert Susanne Andreasen of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "A key part of the government's housing delivery agenda is to prioritise development on brownfield land. The commissioning of LLC last year to create a register of surplus public land in London is an important step to achieve the identification of land for development."

"A further challenge will be securing the timely release of land on the register by government departments. Many disposals currently take years to complete and this causes delays to the commencement of development on site," Andreasen said. 

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