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Click Above MD, Aaron Emmett spoke with the Daily Mail about one of the solutions to London's housing crisis

Wednesday 14th March 2018

With space for 41,000 new homes on the ROOFS of existing properties in London alone - is building upwards the answer to Britain's housing crisis?

Building 40,000 new homes literally on top of existing buildings in London could help solve the country's housing crisis, a developer has claimed. A house builder specialising in rooftop development has already begun using the space above existing buildings to boost the supply of homes in Britain, including several sites in London. It comes after the Government announced in the Housing White Paper at the end of last year that it is committed to building upwards, on 'airspace' above existing buildings.

Developer Click Above says that more than £50billion worth of extra homes could be built in this way in London. MailOnline Property's Myra Butterworth took a helicopter ride over London with Click Above to view some of the airspace that it is transforming.

The development sites include two penthouses being added to the rooftop of a purpose-built block in Battersea, and 23 studios and two-bedroom apartments constructed above a commercial site in the borough of Camden. The properties are built off-site, meaning they can be installed within days with minimum disruption.

Building 40,000 new homes literally on top of existing buildings in London could help solve the country's housing crisis, a developer has claimed. A house builder specialising in rooftop development has already begun using the space above existing buildings to boost the supply of homes in Britain, including several sites in London. It comes after the Government announced in the Housing White Paper at the end of last year that it is committed to building upwards, on 'airspace' above existing buildings.

Aaron Emmett, chief executive of Click Above, said: 'People in UK cities have no idea how much money they could potentially be sitting on. 'With densely populated areas crying out for more housing, the opportunity to build upwards is colossal. 'We know there is potential for 41,000 new rooftop dwellings in central London alone. This equates to more than 28million square foot of residential floor area, with an estimated value of £51billion.'

Flat owners may be concerned about additional properties being built on top of their block. However, if their freeholder is selling the roof space, it has to serve what is known as a 'section five' notice that gives leaseholders first refusal to buy before it can be sold on to a third party.

Click Above insists that there can be benefits for leaseholders when their roof space is sold. These can include communal areas being refurbished and new facilities added, such as improving the appearance of a building, having a new roof that leaseholders won't have to pay for, and new landscaping.

It follows the sale of a rooftop space in London in 2015 for £450,000. The space was just 53 sq metres - or 571 sq ft - but came with planning permission for a one-bedroom flat with a terrace.

It comes after the Government outlined plans in its Housing White Paper to 'address the scope for higher-density housing in urban locations' by using 'airspace' above buildings that be extended upwards. It claimed these includes low-density buildings such as retail warehouses, lock-ups and car parks. The Government has also announced further planning changes this week, with its decision to increase the number of homes that agricultural buildings can be converted into.

The maximum will be extended from three to five, with the new housing minister Dominic Raab saying: 'We need to be more creative if we are to meet the housing needs of rural communities.' The move to build upwards follows the increasing installation of mega-basement extensions used by wealthy residents to expand their homes. 'But the controversial 'iceberg homes' have attracted vigorous complaints about noise and dust during the building process.

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