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News Release


Car parks could provide 400,000 new UK homes

Bournemouth forges ahead to transform car parks into homes

BOURNEMOUTH, 9 February 2017 – New research from property consultancy JLL highlights the potential to develop circa 400,000 homes on car parks in the UK’s town and city centres.

JLL’s latest research paper Driving Innovation identifies just under 10,500 car parks in the UK’s town and city centres with the capacity to accommodate comfortably circa 400,000 homes, enough to house around one million people. Furthermore in the vast majority of cases it is possible to build without the loss of public parking facilities. Nearly 80% of the sites identified are surface car parks where, with relative ease, it is possible to build upwards while retaining car parking spaces.

The idea is already being embraced in Bournemouth where several surface car parks have been identified for residential development. This includes the car park at Berry Court on St Peter’s Road which has 155 spaces. The proposal is to create 113 private rental homes as well as a multi storey car park which will reinstate the public car parking as well as offering 73 new residents’ spaces.

The Bournemouth Development Company has been set up with JLL’s help to enable the Council to benefit from the development of its surplus car parks for residential development. Known as a Local Asset Backed Vehicle, it is a way of combining private sector finance and skills, in this case from the construction and regeneration firm Morgan Sindall, with public sector real estate in order to drive development and investment.

The Bournemouth Development Company has identified several regeneration sites in the town, the majority of which are surface car parks.

Emma Eaglestone, head of JLL’s Southampton office, says: “The trend towards urban living has disproportionately put a strain on the UK’s town and city local authorities to allocate sites for residential development, typically in areas where land is rarely available. It is crucial that more residential sites are created in urban locations where housing is needed most.

“The Government is actively exploring solutions to the UK housing crisis through innovative measures to boost supply. Crucially, more than half of the car parks identified by JLL are in public ownership under the control of local authorities. This gives Government a direct stake in the potential for delivery on these sites.

“In order to negotiate planning hurdles, the Government could introduce a planning 'permission in principle' for residential development on urban car parks using new laws that were outlined in the Housing and Planning Act 2015.”

JLL have advised several local authorities on innovative financial structures to enable them to release council owned car parks and other surplus sites to the market.

Emma added: “As Council’s increasingly introduce car free zones in city centres, and with more and more people choosing to live in urban environments without cars, the pressure to use these centrally located undeveloped opportunities for housing rather than car-parking is likely to increase.”