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875 council owned garages are lying empty in Camden

PUBLISHED: 12:38 18 January 2017 | UPDATED: 18:12 18 January 2017

Would the council selling off empty garages to developers ease the housing crisis?

Would the council selling off empty garages to developers ease the housing crisis?

Mark Surridge

Housing chief responds to report highlighting number of council sites currently languishing unused

35 per cent of garages owned by Camden council are currently empty.

The figure was obtained via a Freedom of Information request by housing tech company Property Partner.

Dan Gandesha, CEO of Property Partner said: “This is just a snapshot of publicly owned land in London that is clearly surplus to requirement, underused or undeveloped.”

1,646 of the council’s 2,521 garages are rented out, 59 per cent to council tenants.

In total Camden council owns 378,150 sq ft of land in garages, which Property Partner suggested could be sold to developers to be turned into flats.

Mr Gandesha said: “Although, making better use of underused council garages is not the absolute solution, it could seriously help alleviate the capital’s affordable housing crisis.”

With the average one bedroom flat in the Uk measuring 449 sq ft, the report estimates that Camden has 757 potential flats – if every garage was sold to make way for housing.

London needs between 49,000 to 80,000 new homes built every year in order to keep abreast of the capital’s growing population, according to the London Assembly.

Transforming derelict garages into housing stock is becoming increasingly popular in areas such as Muswell Hill and Crouch End, with both private clients and property developers getting in on the act.

Responding to the report Cllr Pat Callaghan, Camden Council cabinet member for housing, said: “We are currently reviewing how our garages are used. We will develop plans with residents and ward councillors to either bring garages back into use or, where this is not possible, explore alternatives.

“Camden is currently building a range of housing through our Community Investment Programme, our fifteen year plan to build over 3,000 new homes, including 1,400 affordable homes, and invest in schools and children’s centres in Camden.”

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