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Top tips

Design

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London Mayor brings on small sites for self and custom building


Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has created a new website for selling 10 small publicly-owned sites as a pilot for providing plots for the capital’s small- and medium-enterprise building sector. These small sites are expected to offer potential for people in the city wanting to be involved with a building project, with two sites specifically set aside for community-led design and cohousing.

The 10 sites in the Small Sites, Small Builders scheme are currently owned by Transport for London and are expected to contribute to the capital’s affordable homes provision, supporting the Mayor’s target of 50% affordable housing target.The sites are expected to bring on 111 homes with 68% affordable.

The Mayor recognises the need to break the dominance of the major developers, and these sites offer opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises, which are traditionally associated with creating Custom Build and cohousing opportunities.

The Mayor’s office reported that the number of small builders (delivering less than 100 homes) has halved in the last 10 years. The initial plots in the Small Sites programme will inform the Mayor’s office as it looks into growing the scheme, extending it to other public sector landowners.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “For far too long, London’s housing market has been over-reliant on large developers building the majority of our homes on large brownfield sites. The number of small sites coming forward has halved in the last decade, and we have lost almost a third of all small and medium-sized homebuilders operating in the capital.

“Through my new small sites programme, I want to make more public land available to help contribute not only to tackling the housing crisis in London, but also to reinvigorating our small and medium-sized homebuilding sector. I also want to provide more opportunities for Community Land Trusts, which is why I have earmarked two sites specifically for community-led housing.“I am leading the way by bringing forward TfL sites to pilot my new approach, and I want to offer a real opportunity for small builders and community-led housing groups to play their part in building the new and genuinely affordable homes Londoners so desperately need.

Regrettably, the Small Sites, Small Builders landing page on the website doesn’t reference self-build or custom build, referring only to sites available to ‘small developers, housing associations and communities’. This is a missed opportunity, as these sites represent a unique chance for London councils to meet some of their duties under the Right To Build legislation.

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