Tackling the housing crisis

The UK faces an acute housing shortage. Up to 250,000 new homes are needed each year to keep up with demand. We’re helping to address the housing crisis by teaming up with the Berkeley Group to regenerate former gasworks and build thousands of new homes. 

It is one of the biggest challenges in society today – how to build enough new homes while still protecting the environment. St William Homes is a new partnership that will help to do exactly that. 

We’re working to transform 350 acres of brownfield sites in London and the South East of England. There are potentially 30 former gasworks in line to be redeveloped. Our aim is to deliver 17,500 new homes in areas where they’re desperately needed.

A changing landscape 

Gasworks have been a familiar sight in British cities for decades. The distinctive gas holders, often found close by, helped keep thousands of homes warm. But they were often seen as a blight on the landscape. 

As technology moved on more and more sites closed. Many of the old gasworks have been declared surplus. This means that National Grid Property has become one of the largest private owners of urban brownfield sites in the UK. What we needed was a way to develop the land quickly and effectively. 

Joint venture 

To do this we created an innovative 50/50 joint venture with residential developer the Berkeley Group. It combines our expertise in dealing with redundant sites and Berkeley’s property development skills. Most importantly, it’s helping us speed up the process of regeneration and the delivery of new homes. 

We have a shared vision about the potential to help communities thrive too. The joint venture sets out commitments on ‘place making’, ensuring we create quality new spaces to live and enhance local environments and landscapes, so it’s not just about new homes. 

New homes on the way 

There are a lot of challenges. These included demolishing old plant and cleaning up the land. We also have to gain planning consent for each site as well as planning for the big construction job ahead. It’s been hard work but we’re starting to see the results. The first seven sites will deliver 3,500 new homes. Discussions on six more sites are moving ahead. Planning consent is in place for the first 2,000 homes and building work has begun at Battersea. 

But housing is just the start. More than 13,500 homes will be built across 18 sites to start with. Of these, 4,400 will be affordable housing. Two schools and five city parks will also be created. Then there’s the 201 acres of brownfield land being transformed and reattached to their communities. Last but not least, the venture will sustain 6 jobs for every new home built. 

Becoming a reality 

Phil Edwards, Head of Real Estate for National Grid Property, said: “The housing crisis is a big issue for the UK. This partnership will make a real difference. It’s opening up a pipeline of brownfield sites that will help us build homes and communities right where they’re needed most.”

Related information

For more details, visit the St William website

Published: June 2017