STOPPED: Why People Oppose New Residential Developments in Their Back Yard

This report looks behind the NIMBY stereotype and identifies seven specific types of public concern around urban change in London.

London needs nearly 50,000 new homes to be built every year until 2035, but in 2015, just 24,620 new homes were completed. There are many reasons why supply has failed to keep up with demand, this report focuses on just one of them: opposition from local residents.

Stopped: Why People Oppose Residential Development in Their Back Yard, looks behind the NIMBY stereotype and identifies seven specific types of public concern around urban change in London. The report goes on to offer solutions that address these concerns head on.

Key findings

Our research identifies seven reasons that local residents oppose housing developments:

  1. An increase in population will place a strain on local services
  2. A decline in trust between residents, developers and local authorities
  3. The local identity may be threatened by outsiders
  4. New developments may change the character or identity of the place they call home
  5. Planning debates could be hijacked for alternative agendas
  6. A sense of powerlessness arising from a lack of genuine engagement
  7. The fear of noise and safety impacts from construction

On their own, common solutions such as consultation, neighbourhood planning, incentives, and Community Land Trusts are incapable of dealing with these objections.

The report argues that developers and local authorities must gain an accurate understanding of the types of local opposition to housing developments before trying to resolve them. It suggests that by mixing and matching solutions to address the challenges on a specific site, it should be possible to simultaneously improve the quality and increase the quantity of new residential development.


This report was generously supported by