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Could Building Upwards Solve The Housing Crisis?

Tuesday 13th March 2018

Utilising airspace to develop rooftops into new homes is most certainly one great way to address the housing crisis, particularly in town and city centres where land is scarce. A recent study suggests that at least 23,000 buildings in London Zones 1 & 2 alone could be suitable for rooftop development which equates to 40,000 new homes! With Sajid Javid's announcement to amend the NPPF, to allow permitted development for two additional floors on top of buildings, this is definately an exciting time for roof-top development.

Our specialist team at Click Above work with freeholders to develop airspace, improving the value of their asset, whilst also offering leaseholders fantastic new facilities and improving the appearance of the existing building.

In addition, Click Above's innovative off-site build methodology means that the impact to the existing use of the building is minimised. The nature of the build process means developments can take days or weeks as opposed to months or years!

A win-win situation for all...Find out more here.

Creative new measures are needed to address the housing crisis, but do planning law reforms go far enough?

More and more people are resorting to adding an extra storey to their homes instead of moving, and the Government is on board. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has proposed new planning reforms to make it easier for homeowners and developers to add additional storeys on top of properties.

In principle, adding an extra storey to an existing building makes sense. Rather than building homes on the outskirts of cities where infrastructure such as transport links and social facilities could be underdeveloped, adding more storeys to existing properties in and around an inner city landscape will cater to the high demand for real estate in such areas.

Do they know how to develop plans, obtain permission and source reputable tradespeople? Can they see a clear return on their investment? Does the support exist for people keen to add extra storeys to a building but have not done so before? These are the questions the Government must now look to answer if the latest housing reform is to prove successful.

There is indeed a broader question of whether these latest planning reforms are too little, too late – property affordability coupled with rising inflation means that an increasing number of people are relying on rental properties. Adding additional storeys onto existing properties in urban areas will alleviate some demand, but it does not go far enough in addressing some of the more systematic issues facing an increasing number of Britons who consider property ownership beyond their grasp.

In order to provide the desired relief to a market faced with rising demand and limited supply, reforms to house planning laws must be the first of many creative solutions that complement the development of new-build houses.

At this critical juncture, the property market is calling for leadership, and a commitment from the Government to deliver a series of reforms that address the concerns of all parties involved in UK real estate – be it those seeking affordable rental accommodation close to their work, young families hoping to buy a property or developers looking to build new homes in areas of need.

Of course, there is no simple answer, but the time of focusing on housing issues in short, sharp bursts must come to an end. So too must the high turnover in housing ministers; there have been a staggering 16 since 1997. The UK needs consistent policy backed by a long-term vision that looks to overcome the serious challenges facing the housing market over the next decade. House planning reforms are part of the solution, but let us not be complacent – more needs to be done.

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