Car parks could provide 400,000 new UK homes

London, 16th January 2017. Felicity Young, +44 (0)20 7087 5108

New research highlights the potential to develop circa 400,000 homes on car parks in the UK’s town and city centres.

JLL’s latest research paper Driving Innovation identifies just under 10,500 car parks in the UK’s town and city centres with the capacity to comfortably accommodate circa 400,000 homes, enough to house around one million people. Furthermore in the vast majority of cases it is possible to build without the loss of public parking facilities. Nearly 80% of the sites identified are surface car parks where, with relative ease it is possible to build upwards while retaining car parking spaces.

JLL Residential Research Associate Director Nick Whitten says: "A trend towards urban living has disproportionately put a strain on the UK’s town and city local authorities to allocate sites for residential development, typically in areas where land is rarely available. It is crucial that more residential sites are created in urban locations where housing is needed most.

"The Government has indicated that it is actively exploring solutions to the UK housing crisis through innovative measures to boost supply. Crucially, more than half of the car parks identified by JLL are in public ownership under the control of local authorities. This gives Government a direct stake in the potential for delivery on these sites.

"In order to negotiate planning hurdles, the Government could introduce a planning 'permission in principle' for residential development on urban car parks using new laws that were outlined in the Housing and Planning Act 2015.

"Meanwhile, policies for car-free urban centres are becoming increasingly commonplace for environmental reasons while technology advancements are beginning to see the onset of driver-less cars. Will these two factors reduce demand for urban parking? One certainty is that demand for city centre living is expected to increase, putting further pressure on the provision of sufficient housing."

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