As the opportunities to acquire developable land at reasonable cost, become more and more scarce, local authorities and registered providers are looking at other opportunities in an attempt to maintain a pipeline of supply for new housing.
As a Practice, we have noticed over the previous 12 months, an increasing aspiration for housing providers to look again at their existing stock, and garage courts. With funding becoming progressively tighter over recent years, many of these assets have been overlooked and some have fallen into a state of disrepair. However, these are indeed assets and should be kept under regular review.
In addition to the usual opportunities that present themselves to us, our Midlands office has recently been commissioned to undertake a wholesale review of a client’s existing portfolio of approximately 2,500 garages, many of which also have adjacent open parking areas.
On this occasion, we have been commissioned to inspect each and every site within the portfolio, to assess their condition, evaluate the future repairing liability and identify potential opportunities for development. By virtue of our multidisciplinary approach, our surveyors are able to provide a comprehensive appraisal from both a maintenance and development perspective, backed up by our in-house design expertise in order to identify and illustrate potential redevelopment opportunities.
It is worthy of note that there are numerous impediments to the viability of such opportunities. Based on our experience, they typically include the following:
- Lack of sufficient width of access road
- Overlooking issues from neighbouring properties, making scale and orientation problematic
- Legal restrictions with rights of access from existing adjacent properties
- Inability to provide alternative parking for displaced vehicles
Other issues include locations of electrical sub-stations (with associated access/easement rights), location of service runs in the adjacent hard surfaced areas, location of underground oil tanks and sources of contamination.
Another important consideration is that such areas can become the focus for anti-social behaviour that will need to be addressed in some way. Such options could include demolition of the garages and provision of open parking (on a permit basis) and provision of additional security lighting or CCTV. Other sites are adequately maintained and appreciated by the local community and should continue in this way.
However, some sites are fortunate in that they do have associated open parking areas which are underutilised. Additionally, the ‘marriage value’ of adjacent land can present further opportunities for providing valuable and much needed accommodation for the local community.
Whilst logistically, there is a huge amount of data to collect and analyse, we have found the exercise very interesting and it has indeed stretched our innovation skills in order to identify how such opportunities could be delivered for our clients.
For more information please speak to Neil Hebberts, Partner, on 0121 454 1688 or firstname.lastname@example.org