Spotlight: North East London

North East London
Connecting opportunities

16 November 2017, by Savills Research

We look at the potential for new development that can be linked to the ongoing and proposed improvements in local infrastructure


North East London benefits from new and improved infrastructure (see below) that will unlock more sites for housing. This infrastructure is a major asset to build the homes the capital needs.

However, land values for commercial and industrial use have been catching up with those for residential, putting additional pressure on land for homes. Often, alternative uses are more cost effective to deliver, while build costs, S106, CIL requirements and affordable housing provision become more onerous for residential schemes.

Confirmed new infrastructure

• The Elizabeth line

• London Overground extension from Barking to Barking Riverside

• Lower Thames Crossing

Proposed new infrastructure

• New station at Beam Park

• Silvertown Tunnel


Potential for growth Infrastructure is opening up large parts of North East London for regeneration and new development (click to enlarge)

Potential for growth

Source: Savills Research | Note *Only selected roads and rail lines are shown

Station densification

Regeneration around stations has been significant in Stratford, Romford and Harold Wood as well as around the Royal Docks. Flatted developments have been dominant in these locations, densifying the area’s housing stock.

There are other mainline and underground stations which have not yet seen significant development and may provide considerable residential development opportunity to densify.

Ilford, Barking and Dagenham Dock have sites that we expect to deliver significant new supply over the next five years. Chadwell Heath station is adjacent to a large area of industrial land, which could provide much needed homes as well as other uses.

New stations along the existing lines (or line extensions) could also provide opportunities to densify and deliver new homes. The new Elizabeth line is due to open in 2018, but there are other transport improvements proposed. A new station is planned at Barking Riverside with an extension to the Overground, linking the new development at Barking Riverside into Barking and improving the connections from new homes to employment areas. A new station is also proposed along the existing C2C line at Beam Park – the site of a former Ford factory in South Dagenham – alongside 3,000 new homes and other uses.

Green Belt swaps

Some 35% of North East London is covered by the Green Belt. The preservation of quality Green Belt is important to create a buffer to the urban area. But where Green Belt land is within close reach of a station with links to central London, or is of poor quality, it would be pragmatic to release sites for residential development.

Through Green Belt swaps, protected land can be allocated elsewhere. This would mean more housing could be delivered closer to the existing infrastructure and provide much-needed housing in London, while still preserving the urban area buffer.

Redevelopment of industrial land

There are 1,734 ha of industrial land in North East London, of which 13% is vacant. The majority is located from Stratford to Rainham along the A13 corridor, the north bank of the Thames, and in the Lea Valley. These areas are poorly connected by road. The most western areas that are better connected have already been redeveloped – the Olympic Park and Royal Docks are key new residential areas of London.

However, there is more land that could be redeveloped, and with the introduction of permitted development rights for storage and warehouse space to residential, there is greater scope to do so.

While access to the canal network was historically important for industrial land, the growth in next-day delivery services and off-site consolidation centres has led to a rise in the need for warehouses located near road networks.

Swapping industrial land next to the river with areas close to a major road network also works if policy allows this. However, this would require considerable strategic planning and coordination to ensure that the overall level of employment land is not reduced. Many former industrial sites also require significant remediation to make them suitable for residential development. Therefore, grants and loans from the government or flexibility around the level of planning obligations should be considered.


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