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Property: The vultures gather [updated]

24 October 2014

[This is an updated and expanded version of an article that appeared in the November 2014 issue of Workers.]

Britain’s largest gathering of property developers, financiers, health trusts, local authorities, estate agents, bankers, landlords, politicians, speculators et al has been networking, partying, carving up Britain’s assets at the MIPIM Real Estate Investors summit held at Olympia on 15-17 October 2014.

This international feast of property speculators, which moves around the world, was visiting London for the first time. An estimated 20,000 visitors at hundreds of exhibitions, all graced by the keynote welcome from Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, heard about every aspect of property and land speculation in Britain.

Exhibitors ranged from local authorities touting for redevelopment, to the builders of Crossrail, foreign investors and those promoting social cleansing in Britain’s cities, especially in London. As the capital becomes the residence of choice for the rich and super-rich, clearing out those poor dirty workers is paramount.

Added to that is the targeting of national assets. The NHS figures significantly in the presentations, with an estate base valued at £3 billion and an estimated £50 million target for land and estate sales in London.

NHS land sales in London alone could create 250,000 new homes – although they are unlikely to be affordable by ordinary Londoners.

In Bromley, south London, for example, the now-derelict NHS site formerly known as the Bassett Health Campus last week became the subject of a planning request from NHS Property Services. The site was formerly home to many adults with learning disabilities before the government cleared it to prepare it for sale.

The head of NHS Property Services was quoted in local paper News Shopper  as saying, “we are seeking outline planning permission for up to 100  new homes, so we can increase its value to developers, it will also bring an empty site back to use as well as providing a number of homes to help towards London's growing demand for houses.”

The average price for a three-bedroom house in this part of Bromley is £600,000.