London’s golf courses could be repurposed to provide
housing for at least one million people, according to analysis by the
The analysis by editor Jonn Elledge, using data provided by a contributor, says that within the M25 there are 189 golf courses covering 76.4 sq km (29.5 sq mi) which is 3.3% of the total land. Even at the lowest level of housing density, 35 homes per hectare, each sq km could provide 3,500 homes. So repurposing all of this land for housing could provide 267,400 family-sized homes accommodating around a million people
Elledge comments, however:
“We’re never actually going to do this, of course, and even if we could we
probably shouldn’t: even if golf club memberships are falling, some courses
will survive, and anyway open space is a good thing. But the point is clear,
all the same: London
is keeping a lot of land free for golf.
“I remain unconvinced
that, in the midst of a housing crisis, this is actually a good thing.”
Elledge’s smart yet simple lateral thinking is something that seems to have escaped politicians, planners, developers and others tasked with actually providing housing in London. It also debunks the myth that the London housing crisis has anything much to do with an actual shortage of space.