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Commission launched to free up public land

Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Housing Minister Brandon Lewis have launched the London Land Commission, with a mission to free up surplus public land in London to build the homes that the city needs.

In February, George Osborne announced the creation of the Commission in a joint speech with Boris Johnson. The Chancellor went further in the Budget in March, committing £1m a year to the Commission.

The Commission is tasked with developing a comprehensive database of surplus public land in London – a 21st Century Domesday Book. This was a key ask in our 2014 report ‘Home Truths‘, which set out 12 steps for solving London’s Housing Crisis.

In conjunction with law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, London First subsequently published ‘From Wasted Space to Living Place‘, the first analysis of the task ahead. It assesses the opportunities and challenges facing the Commission in delivering much-needed housing in the capital.

The report argues that this presents “a tremendous opportunity to make real inroads into London’s housing shortfall” when combined with new powers in the recent Infrastructure Act.

However, it also concludes that the Commission has big hurdles to overcome, arguing that it must have real power rather than becoming a talking shop.

Contact: Jonathan Seager, jseager@londonfirst.co.uk

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