Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to directly commission the building of more than 13,000 new homes on five publicly-owned sites across London and south-east England.   

The move is part of a “radical new policy shift” to build more homes on brownfield sites across the UK.   

Why Wimbledon cannot be part of Prime Minister’s housing plansIn his New Year message, the Prime Minister said he would “kick-start the building of thousands of homes in a return to 1980s-style projects like the Docklands development”.   

Downing Street says the move will see homes built at a faster rate, with smaller construction firms able to begin building on sites in Kent, West Sussex, Hampshire, Cambridgeshire and London that already have planning permission.   

The government has also committed £1.2bn to help developers detoxify brownfield land so it can be used for housebuilding.   

This will allow 60,000 more homes to be built over the next five years, according to the government. Of those, half will be affordable starter homes.   

The first wave of directly-commissioned homes, 40% of which will be affordable, will start this year in Dover, Chichester, Gosport, Northstowe and near the Crossrail Interchange at Old Oak Common in north-west London.   

Any attempt to deliver the 200,000-plus new homes per year that the UK needs is to be welcomed, but David Cameron’s announcement – which he described as “a huge shift in government policy” – will do nothing to increase the supply of property where there is greatest demand.

The delivery of about 3,000 homes in Old Oak Common, however, will be welcomed by the buyers who secure one of the properties on offer.   

Demand for plots on the new-build development is likely to be so intense that it could actually drive up prices in this part of London, which lies between Harlesden and East Acton and is perhaps best known as the site for Queens Park Rangers Football Club’s proposed new stadium.   

As an estate and letting agent, our business model is based on a supply of high quality homes for sale and rent. We, therefore, welcome Communities Secretary Greg Clark’s announcement on BBC Radio Four that the government is “pulling out all the stops to get the country building”.   

We also acknowledge Mayor Boris Johnson’s statement made this time last year that “London will shortly become home to more people than ever before and there is no doubt that the Old Oak Common scheme will provide a real shot-in-the-arm as we look to provide the new homes and jobs that we desperately need”.  

But care needs to be taken as to where the estimated 50,000 extra homes every year that London needs are placed. This is why the property professionals at Robert Holmes & Co put our heads together to come up with three reasons why David Cameron’s move to intervene directly in the housing market will generate positive headlines for the government rather than solve the shortage of supply of property in Wimbledon. 

  1. There are no brownfield sites in and around Wimbledon Village that are suitable for large-scale housing schemes. Regeneration can only take place in areas that have undergone deline.
  2. Large-scale housing developments would ruin Wimbledon Village. This area of Wimbledon has its own unique set of characteristics where town meets country and new mass building developments would devalue Wimbledon Common.
  3. It would change the area’s demographics. Wimbledon Village and the properties in roads surrounding the common attracts a particular kind of resident, and building projects such as these would risk alienating them.  

This is why, while welcoming the building project in supplying new and affordable housing in parts of London that require regeneration, we are confident that Wimbledon Village won´t be part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to get Britain building.

If you are looking to buy, sell, rent or let a property in Wimbledon, Southfields, Kingston Hill, Coombe or any of the surrounding areas, contact Robert Holmes & Co today. Our sales and letting professionals have an unrivalled knowledge of this part of London and can help fulfil your property ambitions.

We do, however, admit that our knowledge of Cambrideshire is a little patchy and we had no idea of where Northstowe was until a quick Google search revealed it’s a former RAF base five miles north-west of Cambridge where a new town is planned.


About the author

Nicolas Holmes

Nick joined Robert Holmes to inject fresh ideas and help grow the New Homes department of Robert Holmes as well as helping to inject technology into the business and to grow its client base. Together with one of the Directors Nick is in charge of all Development opportunities that Robert Holmes deals with along with sales. Aged 40, he provides succession together with the two existing directors. Nick has always been focused on building client relationships and sales. He built up his own gallery in Chelsea, where he had a loyal following of customers and artists.

Related articles