According to a WSP study, Out of Thin Air – One Year On, using space above rail lines could make an extra 2,470 hectares of land available for homes and flats across London. This space could represent the equivalent of 280,000 new homes.
Housing remains one of the biggest problems in London. The mayor recently stated that the rate of construction for residential buildings needed to reach 66,000 homes a year to meet the current demand. The National House-Building Council has indicated that only 2,917 properties were planned in the three months to June 2018, making it the lowest amount for that quarter since 2009.
This WSP report on London home development follows an earlier one, which estimated that by building above rail, 250,000 new homes could be found in London.
WSP has collaborated with the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at UCL to develop a new methodology to provide a more accurate idea of available rail land suitable for development. Using this new GIS-based methodology, WSP uncovered 14% more land with overbuild potential than previously estimated.
The team also examined difficulties that can arise when reviewing a potential London home development site, such as the track length and site size, which must be a minimum length of 100m.