Delivering Infill Development – Briefing

Delivering Infill Development - cover

The London Infrastructure Plan 2050 is approaching its conclusion, as the GLA analyses responses to its 2014 consultation and prepares to release a final report by the end of March. Throughout the plan’s development, Future of London has delivered our London 2050 programme, exploring key delivery and governance issues that the Capital will face over the next 35 years. We have now published the second briefing in the series: Delivering Infill Development.

If it wasn’t already clear, the 2011 Census was confirmation: Greater London is highly urbanised. Using its ‘built-up area’ classification (its proxy for urbanisation), approximately 85% of the Capital is urban. With the majority of the remaining land within the Green Belt or otherwise unavailable for development (for example, designated parks), there is simply very little capacity for greenfield housing development in London.

Built-up London

While brownfield developments (namely Opportunity Areas) have been a focus of regeneration, these sites alone cannot overcome London’s housing shortage. Enter infill development: using capacity within the built-up fabric. Making the best use of vacant or underutilised land is critical, whether that’s identifying or freeing up public land, seeking estate regeneration opportunities, or making the most of changing high street and town centre landscapes or identities.

This briefing paper is about making infill development work. With an emphasis on public-sector interventions, it focuses on identifying and delivering homes on infill sites that contribute to the success of place, community and the housebuilding industry. In concluding, it relates back to the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 and suggests other policy levers for taking a comprehensive approach on infill development.

From placemaking to market testing, practitioners across London’s public, private and third sectors have diverse interests – and perspectives – when it comes to infill development. To focus the topic, this briefing paper and related roundtable have been framed by these big questions:

  • What are the main barriers to delivering infill development? How can they be overcome or mitigated, and who should bear this responsibility?
  • Is infill housing development a threat to other uses, or is it an opportunity for new placemaking?
  • What attitudes do existing communities have towards infill development and how can organisations delivering these sites respond?

This paper summarises and builds on Future of London’s senior roundtable on infill development. In addition to this anonymised summary of key points from the roundtable discussion, it also includes submitted contributions from practitioners engaged with the topic: Andrew Beharrell (Pollard Thomas Edwards) and Chris Paddock (Regeneris).


Future of London’s work in the London 2050 series also includes the following:

All of the above events are sponsored by Arup. Production and printing of all briefing papers in the London 2050 series is sponsored by Regeneris, and AECOM hosted the September roundtable.