Should we start to build new homes on London’s roofs?

Should we start to build new homes on London’s roofs?

New research conducted by Knight Frank, has found that as many as 41,000 new dwellings could be built in central London using rooftop development space, without altering the iconic skyline.

The study, which uses the latest geospatial mapping software, highlighted that more than 28 million sq ft of potential additional residential floor area could be developed, with this airspace having a potential value of £51 billion.

Stimulated in part by the 2017 Housing White Paper, the research project aimed to identify the extent of the Government’s pledge to seek out opportunities for higher-density housing in urban locations particularly “where buildings can be extended upwards by using the ‘airspace’ above them”. In response, Knight Frank has developed ‘SKYWARD’ – a method to systematically analyse the potential of each building.

SKYWARD analyses 3D spatial data from the Ordnance Survey, cross referencing Land Registry data to assess ownerships and Historic England data to filter out listed buildings.

Representing the sheer scale of the opportunity, some 23,000 buildings could be suitable for rooftop development in Zones 1 and 2, and the volume of the unused plots across the same area is equivalent to eight Burj Khalifa towers (830m high), crucially without the corresponding impact on London’s skyline.  

Charles Dugdale, Residential Development partner at Knight Frank commented: “Skyward is a fantastically powerful tool for identifying development opportunities to unlock thousands of new homes in London and ease housing supply pressures, particularly in those areas where availability of land is becoming increasingly rare.  It also has the potential to add an objective approach to planning decisions on a semi-permissive basis.”

Ian McGuinness, Head of Geospatial at Knight Frank, commented: “Using 3D mapping technology the findings of this analysis can be related to other geographies easily, including to client land ownership portfolios. We can now say where the opportunities are, how much value they unlock, and which land owners are best placed to drive this transformation.”

The mapping product initially defines each contiguous block by its maximum height, then excludes unsuitable buildings (listed buildings and those where historic airspace rights are recorded by Land Registry), before extruding all remaining buildings up to the maximum height. Only those that can be extended by a minimum of 3 metres are deemed to be potential SKYWARD developments.

Join our mailing list:

Leave a comment

Latest Comments

Scott Garnet
Scott Garnet 06 Nov 2017

If you have a patio or a porch it is important to make sure that any connecting doors are secured. Good advice for sliding glass doors is replacing the panels with storm resistant glass and getting heavier...

view article
richardrawlings 01 Nov 2017

What has not been mentioned here is the effect of not only higher interest payments, but also that these payments are less likely to be offsettable as a business cost due to the scaling back of mortgage...

view article
Kelvin Lloyd
Kelvin Lloyd 09 Oct 2017

IT is up, to the Planners. If they will only give permission for bungalows on certain (suitable) sites, they will be built.

view article
maggie swift
maggie swift 09 Oct 2017

It's just the beginning of the shocking rise.

view article
maggie swift
maggie swift 09 Oct 2017

I have recently read that the bungalows can provide social housing for elderly residents in London.

view article
zoe glover
zoe glover 05 Oct 2017

Update! Worst company I have ever dealt with. Undervalued a Cambridge property by over 100k, wont take on any evidence of valuation including a RICS valuation done 3 years ago for the very same value...

view article
Paul Edwards
Paul Edwards 27 Sep 2017

Its nonsense articles such as this that make it harder to get clients to realise just how difficult the market is out there. When you see Rightmove and there are more 'price reduced' then 'new' most days...

view article
Tom Allen
Tom Allen 20 Sep 2017

Absolutely agree with you!

view article
RyanGeo 18 Sep 2017

A sharp correction would be a less dramatic expression to use. That is already underway in certain sectors in Reading where I practice as Chartered Surveyor

view article
sean benton
sean benton 01 Sep 2017

Identity theft is a thread for any profession. So,people should stay alarmed. I once take help from a letting agent and came to know that letting agents are taking every precaution to prevent fraudulent...

view article
Mark N.
Mark N. 30 Aug 2017

We have seen a surge in instructions over August and that should continue into September too.

view article
Chris 30 Aug 2017

Unfortunately, all the legislation bears its force on Landlords and ignores, naively, the effect of Rogue Tenants on the ability of landlords to keep houses in repair and offer properties for rent at reasonable...

view article

Related stories

More articles from Property