The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a new £10m fund to ‘beef up’ London councils’ housing and planning teams to boost their role in building new homes in the capital.
The new Homebuilding Capacity Fund will allow councils to bid for up to £750,000 each to boost their housing and planning teams. This could include hiring new staff to lead council homebuilding projects and develop new masterplans.
Sadiq Khan, said: “London’s housing crisis has been decades in the making and there is no easy solution – but we will only make progress if councils can take a lead in getting new homes built. In the 1970s London councils were supported by central government and built more than 20,000 homes a year. However, these councils built only 2,500 homes over the last seven years, including 700 that were completed last year.
“Despite wanting to do far more, councils have been hamstrung by swingeing cuts from Government for far too long. My new Homebuilding Capacity Fund won’t reverse those cuts – but it will help ambitious councils to enhance their capacity to deliver large-scale new-build programmes.”
Bids will be considered that help to deliver:
– A new generation of council homes;
– More homes, including social rented and other genuinely affordable homes, on small sites;
– Proactive masterplans in areas with significant growth potential; and
– Optimal density across new residential developments in an area.
The Homebuilding Capacity Fund is being funded through the Business Rates Retention Pilot announced at last years’ Autumn Budget.
The new fund has been welcomed by the National Federation of Builders (NFB). Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the NFB, said: “The planning process remains the greatest barrier to industry growth and building new homes. Developers have already agreed to pay more for better planning and it’s fantastic to see that supplemented by the Homebuilding Capacity Fund.”
Rico Wojtulewicz, Senior Policy Advisor of the House Builders Association (HBA), added: “This is the fourth measure this year showing the Mayor’s commitment to diversifying the housing market and fixing planning. It is welcome news for Londoners and should serve as inspiration for other regions.”