Borough builders

This project took a fresh look at the role that boroughs can play in ensuring delivery of new homes across London, through direct delivery or long-term partnerships.

Read the final report

A potted history of borough builders

In the late 1960s and 1970s London’s boroughs were the primary agencies for housebuilding. After decades of being discouraged from getting involved in the direct supply of housing for decades – they are now seeking to re-engage in the housing market. The need for this is made all the more pressing as the annual housing targets in the draft London Plan are significantly higher than current targets.

But a number of factors, including availability of funding, government regulations and capacity, affect their ability to deliver housing directly. As a result, many councils have sought different innovative approaches.

In a previous report, Strength in Numbers, Centre for London explored the restrictions on local authority sources of funding for affordable housing and concluded that cross-borough collaborations can help enhance the overall numbers of affordable homes delivered across the capital.

Building on these findings, this project reviewed the ways in which the capital’s boroughs have been taking an ever more active role in boosting housing delivery. We reviewed the range of approaches being taken and examined the legislative, financial and behavioural challenges facing them.

Research questions

  • Can boroughs help boost supply in the context of a private sector slowdown?
  • What do they, the GLA and Government need to do to unlock this potential?
  • What are the threats and opportunities for these new approaches and how can Boroughs ensure that risk and reward are shared evenly?

Read the final report