More than 90% of MPs think that converting empty spaces above
shops could help reverse the current housing shortage, research by the
Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has revealed.
The survey results coincide with the launch of research by the
FMB, Homes on our high streets,
which looks at the opportunities for creating new homes in a range of different
building types being used for retail.
The report puts councils at the heart of the solution and
suggests some practical ways for them to facilitate the development of wasted
space above shops.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “It is estimated
that as many as 300,000 to 400,000 new homes could be created by making use of
empty spaces above shops on our high streets. This is space just waiting to be
turned into residential accommodation.
“The fact that 90% of MPs of all parties recognise the potential
of our existing buildings to help solve the housing crisis means we need to be
more imaginative if we are going to build the 300,000 homes a year that the
chancellor pledged in last month’s Budget.”
Delivering a speech to the FMB in parliament, secretary of state
Sajid Javid said: “We’ll be looking at [the report] very closely to see how it
can help us to fix this country’s broken housing market.”
The report’s findings encourage councils to include ways to use
space above shops and suggestions to overcoming barriers in planning documents.