London Properties ‘Could Be Built In The Sky’

A loft conversion in West London is one way to make the most of vertical space in the UK’s ever-crowded capital but an estate agent has said that building even higher into airspace could create as many as 41,000 new homes to cope with demand in the city.

A study by global property firm Knight Frank had made use of geospatial mapping software to identify areas in which additional residential floor space could be developed upwards to create thousands of new homes.

Knight Frank, which has named its research project Skyward, used data from the Ordnance Survey and cross-referenced information from the Land Registry to find out which buildings would be suitable for conversion.

The research identified more than 28 million square feet of potential floor space, valued at £51 billion. In total, around 23,000 buildings were identified for their rooftop development potential.

Residential development partner at Knight Frank Charles Dugdale said: “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.”

The project has been designed to exclude unsuitable buildings, such as those that are listed or that have historic airspace rights. Only buildings that may be extended by at least three metres are identified as suitable for potential development.

Knight Frank’s project was conducted partly in response to the government’s 2017 Housing White Paper, which drew attention to the need for opportunities for high-density housing in urban areas, especially by extending upwards.