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JLL: Car parks could help solve property shortage

Hundreds of thousands of new homes could be built on car parks in the UK without losing parking facilities and helping to boost the number of properties being built, new research from real estate firm JLL suggests.

Some 400,000 new homes could be built on 10,500 ‘surface’ car parks in towns and cities around the country enough to house around a millions people.

In the vast majority of cases it would be possible to build without the loss of public parking facilities as 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.

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.”

However, 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.

Whitten also pointed out that 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 and these two factors could reduce demand for urban parking.

He added: “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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