One of the UK’s largest housing associations, L&Q, has launched a £100m ‘Untapped Sites Initiative’ under which it will acquire and develop sites in London and then offer them to smaller housing associations at cost on completion.
L&Q said it would:
- create an in-house team of experts to identify public and private sites in the capital that were capable of delivering between one and 50 home;
- take and manage all development risk and, “as a final failsafe”, retain the homes if a partner could not be found to acquire them.
L&Q said smaller sites in the capital were traditionally the domain of smaller housing associations and SME developers/contractors, but many of the latter had suffered through the last recession, reducing capacity, appetite and supply.
“L&Q hopes that [its intiative] will stimulate them to grow, prosper and contribute to an increase in overall housing supply,” it said.
Jerome Geoghegan, L&Q’s Group Director of Development and Sales, said: “L&Q is a charitable housing association and we have a proud history of supporting like-minded organisations to make London a better place to live.
"We recognise the development challenges that both smaller housing associations and SME developers/contractors face and L&Q is in a position to assist them through this innovative new approach.
“Our offer is one of partnership and support. By using L&Q’s development and financial expertise we can enable smaller housing associations to develop and use their balance sheet capacity without risk.”
L&Q said it would start by using its database and contacts to identify opportunities in the market, but it was keen to open a dialogue with local government, the GLA and other public bodies to target their land holdings and maximise the impact of the initiative.
Geoghegan added: “This initiative can help smaller housing associations meet their commitment to replace all homes lost through Right to Buy, mitigate against the loss of local authority homes and replace homes before they are lost.”
Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property at the Greater London Authority, said: “Accelerating the building of much needed new homes by identifying and developing unused brownfield land is very important and L&Q's new initiative will be a tremendous asset.
“The Mayor has prioritised releasing 99% of all City Hall's land bank and we believe there is capacity for around 100,000 new homes on smaller sites in the capital. L&Q's plans will help take forward the next wave of housing."
L&Q said it would looking to build a programme of at least 200 completions per year, and was now seeking interested partners to take the initiative forward.