With a population of 9.4 million, London is strapped for space, yet a 2019 assessment by Sadiq Khan found the city was in need of 66,000 new homes a year. If we don’t want developers to bulldoze through local communities and historical landmarks, there’s only one way to go: up.
That’s the approach of developer Apex Airspace, which has been given the go-ahead to build 48 affordable rooftop homes in the borough of Harrow. The new accommodation will be constructed on top of seven three-storey buildings on the Berridge Estate, making use of pre-existing ‘airspace’ (as the company’s name suggests) to find room for the housing.
While that will likely cause some disruption for residents of the estate during construction, the building work will result in enhanced communal areas for all tenants, new and old. Residents have already been consulted as part of the design process, along with ward councillors, and the developer plans to consult them again as part of a local lettings policy that could allow them to move into the new homes once they’re complete.
The Harrow rooftop homes are just the start of Apex Airspace’s plans. In 2019, they were allocated £9 million by Homes England to build 78 rooftop homes on five sites across the capital. Since then, they’ve secured planning permission for 30 rooftop houses in Bermondsey and a further 71 in Sutton, in addition to the Berridge Estate plans. It looks like London’s housing future is reaching for in the sky.
Back on the ground, more than £15 billion-worth of London’s homes are sitting empty.