Could UK car parks offer the solution to tackling the housing crisis?

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New research has suggested UK car parks could be used to build hundreds of thousands of new homes

Car parks could offer a solution to the housing crisis, enabling hundreds of thousands of properties to be built.

According to research from real estate firm JLL homes could be built without losing access to parking facilities, with estimations suggesting some 400,000 properties could be construction on 10,500 ‘surface’ car parks in towns and cities.

This would be enough homes to house around a million people.

Car parks could offer a solution to housing shortages

JLL said nearly 80 per cent of sites identified are surface car parks, which would enable developers to build upwards while retaining car parking spaces.

Nick Whitten, residential research associate director at JLL, said: “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.”

Permission in principle

JLL said the government could introduce planning permission in principle for these sites using new laws in the Housing and Planning Act 2015 to reduce barriers to building.

He added: “One certainty is that demand for city centre living is expected to increase, putting further pressure on the provision of sufficient housing.”

Delivering new homes

Chronic shortages of affordable homes remain an issue that the government is working on tackling. At the start of this parliament, a pledge was made to deliver a million new homes by the end of it. However, earlier this month the Labour Party suggested this target would not be met and accused the government of keeping quiet about it.

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