The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has demonstrated his determination to get London building the affordable homes it needs by ripping up existing planning rules and calling on homebuilders to develop sites at higher housing densities to increase capacity in the capital.
In a major housing policy in his new draft London Plan, the Mayor has removed constraints and rigid density guidelines to give a significant boost to the number of new and affordable homes given planning permission in the capital.
In his new draft London Plan, the Mayor has set out how he will ask homebuilders to maximise the use of valuable land in the city – that means developing sites with more homes on them than existing developments nearby. Sadiq believes increased numbers of homes should be built on sites near town centres or good public transport, reducing the need for car parking spaces within developments. The Mayor’s Plan says proposed development on sites that do not clearly maximise housing density should be refused.
The new policy also emphasises the importance of good design and will be applicable to buildings of all types, including low-rise, medium and high-rise. This new approach is supported by a stronger policy on housing standards, including minimum space standards, which sets out how a home should be designed. The draft London Plan also includes the Mayor’s key strategic housing commitment for 50% of all new homes built to be affordable – achieved through planning, investment and building on public land. It strengthens his new approach offering private developers a fast-track route to planning permission if they reach a minimum of 35% affordable.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders said: “Making better use of the many existing small sites that are scattered over the capital is essential if we are to build the number of new homes Londoners need. The London Plan’s moves to favour appropriate residential development on small sites is therefore a welcome initiative. It will also boost and strengthen the capacity of small- and medium-sized housebuilders to build more new homes.
“FMB research has consistently shown that a lack of available and viable land is the main factor constraining the ability of small builders to deliver more homes. Indeed, over half of SME housebuilders believe that the number of small site opportunities is, if anything, decreasing. The London Plan goes further to address this issue than the proposed changes to national policy laid out in the Government’s Housing White Paper. In order to reach the 66,000 new homes London needs to build each year, this renewed emphasis on small sites is vital.”
The draft of the London Plan is available at: www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/london-plan/new-london-plan/download-draft-london-plan