Crown Estate has £800m worth of empty properties in London
Housing continues to be a problem in London, with many new buildings only catering to the city's wealthier inhabitants. Now business newspaper City A.M. has revealed that The Crown Estate, which is owned by the Queen but managed by an independent organisation, is sitting on empty properties worth £800m in the capital.
These consist of 312 vacant properties in the Greater London area. “We’ve been saying for some time that empty publicly owned properties are an important part of the solution to the housing deficit, but the sheer total is a pretty astonishing value,” Russell Quirk, chief executive of online estate agent eMoov, told City A.M.
Based on the size of the average London flat, this vacant space could create 546 new flats. However, The Crown Estate says most of these buildings are either under development, already demolished, or being let. “We operate in effect like a commercial property developer, so it’s quite natural that we’re taking back leases and redeveloping those assets,” a spokesperson said to City A.M.
But the newspaper discovered that dozens of The Crown Estate's properties have been empty for years, with 46 having been vacant 1,000 days or more. For example, a 6,000 ft² space on Air Street, valued at over £6.5m, has been empty since 2007.
It is estimated that London has about 22,000 empty properties in total.
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