Research from WSP Global has suggested that building over rail lines is a way that London’s housing shortage could be unlocked.
The 15-page document, ‘Out of Thin Air: Building above London’s rail lines‘, explores how this can be done and says that not only could this concept improve the housing shortage, but would also see new communities developed.
WSP say that rail overbuild “can help increase the supply of housing, offices, retail and other infrastructure. Existing projects show that the engineering is possible: we can start to deliver rail overbuild now.”
According to WSP, 50,000 new homes need to be built in London each year between now and 2025 if housing demand is to be met.
The reality is in stark contrast; between March 2016 and April 2017, less than 6,500 affordable and open market homes were built in that time.
WSP said, therefore, that “making up the shortfall demands inventive approaches to development.”
Rail overbuild is one way forward to address the housing shortages that exist in London.
The Mayor of London has already suggested that 66,000 new homes need to be built each year, so the problems may actually be worse than WSP’s research suggests. It has led to Sadiq Khan launching a housing strategy to find solutions to this problem.
It is one of the reasons why WSP believe building above rail infrastructure is needed.
The global management and consultancy business say building above railway infrastructure “offers a more creative use of land,” while also aligning with some of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy because it will allow more people to live in London, while providing them with easy to access transport links, making public transport a better experience.
In addition, more jobs will also be created, helping the city unlock further growth opportunities.
Other organisations have urged the government to unlock housing potential; this may be a way of achieving this aim.