MPs call on transport chiefs to help solve housing crisis
Transport for London is coming under pressure from MPs to bring forward its plans to build housing on more than 50 plots of land it owns across the city.
In a recent parliamentary debate about the impact of cuts to Transport for London’s funding announced in Chancellor George Osborne’s latest spending review, Labour MP Gareth Thomas MP said: “I should think that the whole House would think it a good thing to encourage Transport for London to make its land available for housing.”
The MP for Harrow West added: “I hope that ministers may be willing to encourage TfL to see the bigger picture about housing in London”
London’s housing crisis is well documented, says a spokesman for estate agent Williams Lynch – a firm that specialises in selling and letting properties in and around the Southwark area of the city. “It is estimated that the capital needs 50,000 homes built each year until 2020, but housebuilding figures released by the construction industry over the past five years are significantly below that figure,” he adds.
Five of the sites identified by TfL come under Southwark Council’s control and include Bermondsey, Elephant & Castle and Southwark tube stations and the Bricklayers Arms junction.
“We’re determined to use our assets to help create more homes and jobs for Londoners,” Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, has stated.
“As the custodians of some of the best assets in the capital, it is right that we explore every opportunity to maximise the use of our land.”
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for leading developers to help us transform this city,”
Bricklayers Arms Junction
One of TfL’s most eye-catching plans is the redevelopment of the Bricklayers Arms Junction. The site, which is named after a nearby coaching inn, began life as a terminus station designed as an alternative route to London Bridge and take away the London and Greenwich Railway’s monopoly on local services.
When the Bricklayers Arms Extension Railway came into use on 1 May 1844, it was only accessible from a lengthy wooden viaduct.
Although inconvenient for passengers heading towards the City or West End of London, the station did achieve the aim of breaking L&GR’s monopoly.
If future plans to link the site to a future extension of the Bakerloo line and the proposed inner London orbital road tunnel, Bricklayers Arms Junction will be transformed into a convenient commuter hub for city residents.
Home near good transport links are particularly desirable in London, and could scupper MPs’ aims of persuading TfL to use the land it owns for affordable housing.
A spokesman for estate agent Robert Holmes & Co points out: “Research by mortgage lender Nationwide reveals that homes located 500m from a station attract a 10.5% price premium over an identical property that is one mile from a rail or tube station.
With the average price of a flat in London now costing £466,836, central London estate agent Plaza Estates forecasts that any properties built on land owned by TfL are likely to have a market value of at least £515,853.