Now, if you’ve never heard of ‘Airspace Development’ don’t worry you’re not alone.
However, that is probably all about to change as the Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire MP, has agreed a £9 million funding deal to build affordable homes on five sites across London’s rooftops by the summer. In total 78 rooftop homes are to be built under a three-year deal, although 360,000 homes, the equivalent to a year’s worth of new national housing stock, has also been identified as suitable for development on London’s rooftops.
Plus, 120,000 of the homes identified for further development could be built above existing council blocks and housing association properties, to help further tackle the shortage of affordable homes for people on lower incomes.
So, what are ‘Airspace Developments’?
Airspace Development offers a new innovative way to utilise land supply by extending into the airspace above existing, low rise residential and commercial premises to build much-needed new homes. The properties are largely constructed off-site in a factory therefore offer build excellence, strong environmental credentials and high standards of quality assurance controls. They are brought to the site complete and winched into place offering minimal disruption and great logistical ease. New technology can even calculate the extra weight a building can bear and identify the most suitable rooftops for new homes.
So why now?
The government has revised its planning rulebook and now encourages authorities to promote the use of the airspace above existing residential and commercial premises for new homes. The radical announcement comes as part of a £497 million wider package of funding that is planned to be spent building more than 11,000 affordable properties across the country as the government continues with its promise to build 300,000 properties a year by the mid 2020s. The money will be released through strategic partnerships agreed by Homes England, allowing “successful housing associations the freedom to spend the money on the developments where it can have the biggest impact.”