Network Rail is accelerating its land for homes programme with the launch of the first in a planned series of new multi-site land packages to complement its extensive bank of housing schemes already underway. It is also introducing a range of new measures to improve its work with developers.
The multi-site packages (groupings of different development sites) will streamline the process for unlocking land for homes, with the first package bringing together a selection of attractive sites within Greater London and the South East. It includes two sites in highly sought-after Bermondsey, new residential and commercial space in Leyton, redevelopment opportunities in Edenbridge, Kent, and new land for homes alongside an improved station in Bickley. The plots of land have the potential to deliver almost 300 housing units alongside commercial space, delivering much needed homes and an economic boost for the surrounding areas.
The packages are being launched to help the organisation reach its ambitious target of delivering land for 12,000 homes by 2020. It has already released more than a quarter of this target and in the last year alone released land to deliver over 2,100 new homes.
The sites within the packages go alongside around 200 development sites that Network Rail has already identified for housing. Many of these sites are already being progressed.
The organisation also announced that it is transforming its approach and processes for working with developers. This will include a new approach to insurance and risk cover, a new advisory service, and a new service level commitment for asset protection. Network Rail plans to publish all changes in full over the next six months.
Sir Peter Hendy, CBE, Chair of Network Rail, said: “Britain’s railways create economic growth, jobs and housing by enabling connectivity. In addition, use of Network Rail’s land can and should enable more regeneration and housing directly.
“We recognise this means strong and ambitious new partnerships, so Network Rail is changing to make it easier than ever for developers to work with us to deliver exciting projects in and around railway stations and railway land. Developments of this type drive regeneration, and create housing and employment opportunities whilst creating great places for people to live, work and travel.
“We are already partnering with innovative developers, who can match our ambition to deliver quality schemes across Britain, and we want to partner with more. This collaboration is a big step forward in our new approach.”
David Biggs, Managing Director of Network Rail Property said: “We have been releasing land for development for decades through successful partnerships with both the public and private sectors, to deliver for the railway and for Britain.
“We understand that forging partnerships with developers is crucial to us fulfilling our commitment to unlocking land for housing and development, especially against the backdrop of ongoing population growth and increased urbanisation.
“We’re always looking at ways to improve our approaches and processes to make it easier for developers to work with us to accelerate our plans. Network Rail is open for business and we look forward to delivering our ambitious housing plans and helping create new communities, jobs and economic growth.”
Colin Stanbridge, London Chamber of Commerce, said: “Investment in Greater London is vitally important if our capital is to manage housing and population challenges, and greater collaboration between the public and private sectors is a key way of securing this investment.
“It’s encouraging to see that Network Rail has developed a new approach to its collaboration with developers. We look forward to seeing the results of this land unlocking process soon.”