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Public sector land

Getting more surplus public sector land released into the market for residential development is a perennial issue.

For all the Government initiatives in this area, progress in London could be better and is held up due to, amongst other challenges:

  • the fragmented ownership of surplus sites
  • a lack of resources and skills available to the public sector
  • a lack of political will and commitment to prioritise this issue

London First has been working on two fronts to help make progress in this area. The first is via the Infrastructure Bill, where London First is supporting the Greater London Authority’s attempts to amend the Bill so that it clarifies that the power in Clause 21 will also be applied to the GLA. This clause allows for surplus public sector land to be transferred from a specified public body to the Home and Communities Agency.

Secondly, London First is calling for government to empower the Mayor to be in charge of disposing of surplus public sector land in the capital. We believe that London requires a new, comprehensive system for disposing of surplus public sector land along the lines of the one outlined in our Home Truths report (recommendation 6). Under this plan the Mayor would be given the power to assess what land in London across all of the public sector is surplus to operational needs and act as the disposing agent for this land.

We are working with colleagues at Berwin Leighton Pasiner to develop this recommendation further and will be publishing a paper about this later in the year.

Contact Jonathan Seager,


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