Fruition Properties and Knight Frank harness tech and data for Southwark airspace study

7th December 2020

Fruition Properties and leading property consultancy Knight Frank have collaborated on an in-depth geospatial research study, which has revealed that up to 2,000 viable new rooftop homes could be built across Southwark without having to demolish any existing buildings.

The innovative study, which involved the development of geoprocessing tools that could test sites for airspace development viability and identify unobstructed frontages, revealed over 500 sites in Southwark with potential to deliver a minimum of four homes each above existing properties. Approximately a quarter of these sites are owned by the local authority, suggesting that there is significant potential for the private and public sectors to work together to unlock much needed new housing in dense areas.

The project follows on from Fruition Properties’ recent airspace planning consent at 20 Crimscott Street in Bermondsey, SE1 – a first of its kind project to co-locate residential and light-industrial uses, to be delivered using volumetric modular construction.

Mani Khiroya, managing director of Fruition Properties, comments: “Development in the UK is a relatively antiquated and a process that needs to join the 21st century. Developers needs to adopt data, technology and modern methods of construction to make the delivery of homes more efficient. We are pleased to be collaborating with Knight Frank, drawing on its market-leading geospatial data offering to identify and deliver new homes across the capital.

“We know there is clear potential in Southwark, however this process could be rolled out across other London boroughs or indeed other UK cities. It could help local authorities determine housing policies and rooftop development site designations while helping to tangibly deliver against residential housing targets. Collectively, I call for the industry to come together and help unlock the potential of our rooftops.”

The ‘Fruition looking Skyward’ collaboration between Fruition Properties and Knight Frank is a more detailed evolution of the Skyward research methodology which formed the basis of Knight Frank’s ground-breaking report in 2017, that revealed potentially developable voids in Zones 1 & 2, alongside their market value and ownership. Knight Frank’s 2017 report won the UK Society of Property Researchers’ 2018 Annual Prize and informed the position of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the physical measurement framework required to deliver planning regulations supporting vertical development.