ADD2121 Land assembly models to maximise housebuilding in London

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
01 June 2017
Decision by: 
Jamie Ratcliff, Assistant Director, Housing

Executive summary

Assembling enough land, in the right places, at the right price, in the hands of organisations ready and willing to build at pace is one of the biggest challenges in increasing housing supply in London.  The Mayor wishes to explore international comparisons of statutory land assembly models and how they could be used to overcome issues related to fragmented land ownership and maximise home-building in London.  This decision authorises expenditure to commission specialist consultants to undertake this work.


That the Assistant Director of Housing Programme, Policy and Services approves:

1.Expenditure of up to £50,000 for the procurement and appointment of consultants to support the GLA’s work to explore statutory land assembly models that could increase the supply of homes in London. 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1 There is an urgent need to increase the availability of land in the capital to support housebuilding.  Fragmented land ownership can act as a barrier to development and sub-optimal housing delivery.  Assembly of both publicly- and privately-owned land will make a significant contribution to increasing the supply of new and affordable homes in the capital.  

1.2 In order to support this, the GLA wishes to commission research to explore international comparators which may guide how statutory land assembly mechanisms could be used to increase and accelerate the delivery of high-quality homes in well-designed and well-connected neighbourhoods in London.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1 The objective of this research is to identify and evaluate the applicability of statutory land assembly models that could increase and accelerate the delivery of high-quality homes in well-designed and well-connected neighbourhoods in London.  The outcome of the research will be to embed an informed position on statutory land assembly mechanisms in the Mayor’s housing and planning policies, and to support discussions with Government on additional powers that may support land assembly.   

2.2 The main output of this research will be a detailed report of the consultants’ work.  This is currently scheduled to be completed by October 2017.  The report will include an analysis of land assembly models applied internationally to deliver homes, detailed modelling of a limited number of statutory land assembly tools that could potentially deliver housing in London, and an assessment of the legal framework and resources that would be required to implement these models.

Equality comments

3.1 The purpose of this research is to examine how to increase and accelerate the delivery of housing in London.  The London Housing Strategy Impact Assessment states that delivering new housing, including affordable housing, is likely to have broadly positive benefits in relation to social and economic sustainability objectives such as improving health, reducing inequalities, increasing accessibility, and economic development.

3.2 Any new policy documents arising from this research will be subject to a similar assessment.

Other considerations

a) Key risks

4.1 The key risk associated with this decision is that the research findings are not aligned with the GLA’s expectations, and that the models developed are not feasible in London.  This will be mitigated by the GLA engaging with the consultant as the research methodology is developed, and being a key research partner to influence the direction of the research as is progresses.  

b) Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

4.2 The Mayor’s manifesto committed to “break the homebuilding logjam” by taking multi-agency action through Homes for Londoners to “raise investment, assemble land, make sure Londoners get a fair deal from developers, and commission and construct new homes”.  The research will form the development of the London Housing Strategies and London Plan.
c) Impact assessments and consultations

4.3 Any new statutory London Housing Strategy containing policies that are relevant to this issue will be subject to consultation and a full and independent Integrated Impact Assessment. Any new London Plan will be subject to consultation and an Examination in Public.

Financial comments

5.1 This decision requests an approval to expend up to £50,000 to commission consultants supporting the GLA’s work in examining how land assembly mechanisms can support housing delivery.

5.2 This expenditure is to be met from Housing & Land Management and Support Consultancy Operational Budget. The total expenditure is to be incurred in the 2017/18 financial year.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

7.1 The Assistant Director of Housing Programme, Policy and Services will finalise the specification for this research, in consultation with the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development. 

7.2 Procurement will take place as per the Contracts and Funding Code, and engagement with TfL Procurement has commenced.  The GLA will seek three or more written quotations to undertake this research through an invitation to tender.  Submissions will be assessed according to the criteria set out in the draft research specification.   

7.2 Once the consultants are appointed, an inception meeting will be held to establish and refine the timetable and methodology for the research. Following this, GLA officers will be in regular contact with the researchers to ensure that the outputs described in the project brief are delivered. 

Activity table

Distribution of specification to consultants


Tender submissions



w/c 03/07/2017

Successful consultant appointed

w/c 03/07/2017

Inception meeting and delivery start date

w/c 10/07/2017

First draft report complete

October 2017

Final report signed off by GLA

October 2017?

Appendices and supporting papers

Appendix 1: Draft research specification

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