A meeting of Transport for London’s Land and Property Committee has given an update on progress towards building homes across London under the new Places for London company.
Work is underway on around 3,300 homes with 20,000 proposed in total.
The general idea is that TfL land can be used to generate income to help the capital’s transport system as seen in other nations. It also doesn’t hurt having a large future customer base directly next to stations.
Being public land, a higher percentage will also be affordable thus helping the chronic shortage of housing in the capital where population growth has vastly outstripped supply for some decades now.
In the past progress has been slow. In places like Woolwich it’s been extremely slow. We’re now 14 years on from an announcement to build around and above Woolwich DLR station with no progress whatsoever.
However areas like Kidbrooke (which also included Network Rail land) has seen far faster movement with around two thirds of homes out of 619 nearly complete.
A further site in Woolwich above the eastern end of the Elizabeth line station has seen plans revealed, dropped then reapproved.
Places for London morphed from the forgettably named TTL Properties Limited (TTLP). As a report before the TfL meeting states, TTLP was never the public-facing name after it was “established in 2014 to hold TfL’s shareholding in TTL Earls Court Properties Limited.
“In 2019, the Finance Committee approved the consolidation of TfL’s commercial property into TTLP”. Now it’s PfL with a formal launch this Wednesday 27 September.
The company has ambitious targets though many sites remain unbuilt for many years including above Bermondsey tube station.
The vast Limmo Peninsula site near Canning Town has sat empty for years and only later this year will a new development partner be sought for 1,500 homes. Previous partnership plans announced in 2019 were cancelled.
This year PfL is set to generate £87 million in revenue which is £4m ahead of budget. Any surplus is reinvested in transport.
Southwark is another station long planned to feature above-site development. A full twenty years on from the Jubilee line extension opening and plans have been approved.
Work is set to start in 2025 and comprises 17-floors of office space. An agreement with Helical will also see development of office space at Bank, and Paddington stations.
Other sites with new housing include Clapham North, Wembley Park and Blackhorse Road stations.
The report covers TfL’s many car parks. One of the biggest by some distance is at north Greenwich – and by far the largest in inner London) which alongside others remains a sea of tarmac 25 years after work on Millennium projects begun and an ever-bigger housing crises since.
There are no imminent plans to build homes soon despite the Jubilee line being a very short distance away.
Elsewhere in London some councils and MPs have placed car parking above a severe need for new homes.
In a report before the meeting TfL accept they cannot compete with the private sector for wages and instead hope to offer other incentives:
“We recognise that we will never be able to compete with the private sector on reward. There is, however, more that we can do to demonstrate an attractive employee value proposition that includes a compelling vision for the organisation alongside a strong development programme and a clear career path.”