Church Walk by David Mikhail and Annalie Riches

Making small sites available to small builders

We want to help make more small, publicly-owned sites available to small developers, housing associations and community-led organisations so they can play a bigger role in building the homes that London needs.

What are we doing?

We are piloting the small sites program with 10 TfL-owned sites. There are many more sites in the pipeline.

Small builders can find a site or sign up for site alerts as more become available.

Public landowners can access funding and support by reading the prospectus and submitting an expression of interest.

What’s the challenge?

Public landowners have limited resources to work on smaller sites. They are often sold in auctions, with little control over the quality and speed of development. They are sometimes ‘banked’ and traded several times before anything is built.

These small sites suit the needs of small builders, however they often struggle with:

  • access to land
  • financing 
  • planning certainty
  • public procurement 

How we will help

Provide a ‘competitive disposal’ service

We aim to offer a service which will combine some of the convenience of land auctions with some of the delivery and quality control of a development agreement, without the need for procurement.

This will allow landowners to select small builders capable of building high quality homes with innovative solutions for complex sites.

Show information on constraints

Where a public landowner decides to use this service, we will commission a full set of surveys to help understand and reduce development risks.

The sites will be marketed with clear, standardised contract terms. Where site surveys uncover constraints, we may fund landowners to unlock sites that would otherwise be unviable, through capital works.

Standardise contracts

  • long lease: Successful builders should receive a long lease, subject to securing planning and finance. 
  • restrictive covenants: Landowners may choose to include covenants limiting the use of the site to affordable and/or community-led housing. 
  • ongoing revenue: Landowners may also defer payment for the land, or take a share of ongoing revenue where relevant.

Help identify more small sites

We can also help public landowners to review their land ownerships, and will look at ways Londoners can suggest potential sites using an interactive map.

Small housing sites in London