The Mayor of London has announced his intention to earmark £250million for City Hall to use for buying and preparing land for new and affordable housing.
In publishing his first draft Housing Strategy for London the Mayor is proposing that the money made from selling the land to homebuilders will be recycled to buy further land for new and affordable homes, unlocking opportunities across the capital.
The new land fund will be used alongside the £3.15 billion affordable housing budget that the Mayor negotiated from Government, and City Hall will work with a range of home builders including councils, housing associations and commercial home builders on housing developments.
Jonathan Seager, executive director of housing policy at London First, said: “We have to dramatically increase the number of new homes London is building, doubling the rate to 50,000 homes each year, so making more land available is absolutely critical. We’d also urge the Mayor to bring new ideas and new entrants into the market to finally tackle London’s housing crisis, including the build to rent developments that give people a better choice of secure, long-term places to live.”
Commenting on the draft London Housing Strategy, Barry Mortimer, Director of FMB London, said: “If we’re to build the number of new homes Londoners need, we must urgently make much better use of the many existing small sites that are dotted all over London. In doing so, we will the strengthen the capacity of SME house builders to build more new homes and perhaps even attract some new SME firms into the market. FMB research has consistently shown that a lack of available and viable land is the main factor stunting the ability of small builders to deliver more homes. Indeed, over half of SME house builders believe that the number of small site opportunities is, if anything, decreasing.”
Mortimer continued: “We therefore welcome strongly the Strategy’s proposal for a presumption in favour of appropriate residential development on small sites, which goes further than proposed changes to national policy as laid out in the Government’s Housing White Paper. The ‘Small Sites, Small Builders’ programme will also link up public land owners with small builders, which could make accessing public land easier for small firms. We also welcome moves which will mean that less of the Community Infrastructure Levy is payable upfront on small sites. This will really help with cash flow for smaller builders and make the economics of small scale development slightly easier.”