London Mayor needs greater land powers

London Mayor needs greater land powers

New report calls for greater powers for the Mayor of London to get land into development for new homes.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and local authorities should be given greater powers to get more land into development for new homes in order to help to fix the capital’s housing crisis, according to new research.

The report, commissioned by the Mayor, investigates how land – often in a complex patchwork of different ownerships – is brought together for development in various places around the world. The research looked at the Netherlands, France, Germany, and the USA, to draw lessons for speeding up the assembly of land to deliver new homes in London.

In particular, it highlights how the Mayor should be given greater powers over Compulsory Purchase Orders in London, particularly where developments are at risk of delay. It also proposes new mechanisms for curbing land value speculation in areas due for development – a step that could enable more social rented and other genuinely affordable homes to be built.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This report shows how giving City Hall more powers to bring land forward and ultimately buy it if necessary, as is common in other parts of the world, would help us build more homes, more quickly. It also shows how practical steps to curb speculation – where owners and developers trade land and see its value go up and up – could help us build more social rented and other genuinely affordable homes.”

“I am using all the resources I have to their fullest extent to get more homes built in London, and will implement the recommendations of the report as far as my current powers and resources allow. But we need greater devolution of powers and investment from the Government to help us truly shift the gear and make a step change in the number of homes we are building.”

The report’s key recommendations include:

  • Establishing a specialist team at City Hall to identify and bring forward land for housing, with the Government providing significant extra resources to support land assembly in London, as is the case in other countries around the world.
  • Reforms to speed up the compulsory purchase process with greater powers devolved to the Mayor, as is common in German cities.
  • Creating special Land Assembly Zones to promote land assembly through negotiation with the landowners or through compulsory purchase, where required. This could see land values frozen at market value on the date of designating the Zones.



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