Your article (26 August) on land designated for employment use being bought for affordable housing in London raises some interesting considerations.
Although it appears to be a good opportunity for developers and registered social landlords to address housing shortages in the capital, the policy could be fraught with problems.
Initial considerations must lie with planners at a local level. Driven by regional issues, their vision of land usage may not be in line with that of the developer. We will no doubt see more mixed-use developments on such sites – just how many will depend on negotiations between planners and developers.
Developers and RSLs should also consider the complexities involved in developing brownfield land. Land sustainability, local community concerns and rigid cost containment must be acknowledged and dealt with at an early stage. Effective project management throughout the development process is essential to ensure that the land is developed in accordance with regulatory requirements and best practice.
For the successful use of this land, project managers will need to ensure that the construction team understands the full planning requirements and is focused on satisfying these requests where feasible. This must be done while ensuring that affordable housing meets the needs of the local community. Good relations also need to be maintained between planning departments and RSLs.
With London desperate to address affordable housing need, freeing up land designated for other uses is a valuable opportunity. What’s important is that project delivery is given the same attention as profit gain.
Tim Young, partner, John Rowan & Partners