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Public bodies should commit surplus land to SMEs, Assembly member Steve O'Connell says

Public bodies should commit a proportion of surplus land to small developers and self-builders to speed up housebuilding, a London Assembly member has said.

Conservative London Assembly member Steve O’Connell has called on boroughs to put plans in place that would see 10 per cent of London’s total public land portfolio given to SMEs and self-builders.

A policy such as this would increase the number of developers entering the market and “guarantee” the faster delivery of homes, Mr O’Connell said at a planning committee this week.

“Small developers and self-builders have a significant role to play in delivering the housing that London needs over the coming decades.

“Our diverse capital needs a diverse housing stock to match and my previous research has shown there is the potential to deliver thousands of additional homes across London if we look beyond the major developers.”

He added: “By setting aside portions of public land specifically for these smaller developers, we will be maximising our city’s potential and filling the housing gaps that cannot be met with major projects.

“I will be urging public bodies to adopt this approach to improve London’s housing market. Small builders can be the solution to London’s big problem.”

His comments follow a report published in 2014 where Mr O’Connell estimated that at least 10,000 homes could be built on public sector land in London from infill development alone.

The report said this would support SME developers because they are more suited to developing smaller, infill sites.

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