Data reveals empty council garages could create 16,000 homes

Councils are sitting on more than 22,000 empty garages in London that could be turned into at least 16,000 homes, research reveals.

Freedom of Information requests by buy-to-let crowdfunding platform Property Partner revealed that 24 out of the capital’s 32 councils own 53,640 lock-up garages in the capital and 41% of them are either empty or in disrepair.

Researchers at Property Partner calculated that the total square footage of council-owned garages in London was more than eight million, based on the average garage being 150 sq ft, and assuming they would be replaced with one-bed at an average of 499.4 sq ft, this could create 16,111 homes.

Dan Gandesha, chief executive of Property Partner, said: “This is just a snapshot of publicly owned land in London which is clearly surplus to requirement, underused or undeveloped.

“When we have a crisis in affordable housing not just in the capital but in the UK, it begs the question whether councils in Britain should either sell off the land for development or build new homes themselves.

“If a significant number of council garages, which are part of housing estates, are not even rented to those who should have a right to them – local authority tenants – then it could be argued that this is a wasted opportunity.

“But there’s an even bigger opportunity here to ameliorate the severe shortfall in housing stock. Consider how much land Transport for London, Network Rail, the NHS, the Ministry of Defence and other government departments and agencies own.”

This does sound like a good idea, but with all these new houses built, surely research would soon follow lamenting the lack of parking spaces or garages.

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