Here’s a conundrum: London needs more new homes. London is also crowded. So where can the capital’s much-needed new homes be built?
How about on top of existing buildings?
That’s what is set to happen very soon in five boroughs in London, following the announcement of an innovative new deal from Housing Minister James Brokenshire. Homes England have struck a three-year agreement with Apex Airspace that will see the construction of dozens of modular homes which will then be winched into place.
New homes prospects are looking up
Apex develop ‘airspace’ – the area above a property – by building modular homes in factories, before moving them to the intended site to lift and then fit them onto previously unused rooftops.
The new deal is for 78 such homes to be built and then used across five areas in the capital – Tooting, Wanstead, Walthamstow, Putney and Wallington. It is expected that the first 32 will be ready by as early as summer 2019, and to encourage first-time buyers the deal stipulates that they are all to be priced within the Help To Buy threshold of £600k.
Helping towards new homes target
The £9 million supplied by Homes England comes from the government’s £4.5 billion Home Building Fund. Homes England have been charged with helping to deliver on the government’s plan to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.
“By providing targeted investment in affordable homes, and funding innovative projects to build rooftop properties, we are making our housing market work for everyone,” said James Brokenshire at the Building London summit.
The announcement has been welcomed by Jasmine Whitebread, chief executive of business campaigning group London First, who have also called on the government to act to stop ‘London flight’ – a drift of potential homeowners leaving the capital due to rising house prices.
“We’ve long called for the need to use the land we have more intensively including delivering homes across London’s rooftops.
“We now need everyone to take their share of the responsibility, so that a combination of more money, land, innovation and flexibility can come together to make a real difference for the capital.”
Apex CEO Arshad Bhatti feels that his company have the potential to roll out many more of the rooftop homes, saying: “Apex has invested heavily in airspace development and our research shows the potential for up to 180,000 new homes in London alone.
“We are delighted to be working with Homes England and welcome its positive and supportive approach in helping to deliver innovative solutions to the housing challenge.”