Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has announced a pilot programme to bring forward publicly owned small sites to boost the capital’s small- and medium-sized housebuilders.
The mayor will bring forward 10 sites through the ‘Small Sites, Small builders’ programme, aiming to deliver 111 new homes, 68% of which will be affordable. The 10 sites in question are a mixture of freehold and leasehold, with Lambeth and Tower Hamlets bringing 62 affordable homes between them. The mayor has also earmarked two sites specifically for community-led housing.
Acknowledging London’s over-reliance on volume developers, and the consequent 33% drop in SME housebuilders over the last decade, Khan hopes that his programme will deliver more opportunities for SMEs and more affordable homes.
The Housing Builder Association (HBA) has congratulated the mayor and his team on delivering a policy aiming to reverse the shrinking presence of local housebuilders. The HBA believes that SMEs are the typical candidates for these sized sites and it is important that decision-makers recognise this in policy.
Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB) commented: “SME housebuilders are more likely to meet their affordable homes requirements, build homes more quickly and remain robust partners to housing associations, community land trusts, cooperatives and self-builders.
“SMEs, who typically employ within 15 miles of their head offices, are also a perfect partner to tackle the housing crisis in our capital. Training and retaining 66% of apprentices, they are our local employers at the start and end of many people’s careers. We welcome the mayor’s ambition to reinvigorate our sector.”