Mayor of London reveals details of his London housing strategy

Posted 24 August 2016 by Keith Osborne

Sadiq Khan announces the first details of how he will tackle the planning and execution of new homes to meet the housing shortage in the capital...

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has unveiled the first details of his plans to deliver more new and affordable homes for the capital, with the creation of a ‘Homes for Londoners’ team to oversee the planning and mix provided.

Khan with head the board of governance for the Homes for Londoners team and he is currently recruiting other members of the board and team to cover the areas of expertise required to meet London’s requirement for thousands more new homes than are currently being built.

One of the first areas to be scrutinised by the team is that of ‘viability assessments’, reports that measure the finances of a new housing development and how many affordable homes can be provided to make the scheme financially worthwhile for the developer involved. Such assessments have been used by some developers, say critics, to manipulate the figures and unnecessarily reduce the affordable homes proportion of many London new homes schemes.

The Homes for Londoners board will comprise the mayor and deputy mayor for housing and residential development, along with a mix of borough council leaders, the Transport for London commissioner, the Greater London Authority (GLA) director for housing and land, the chair of the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations and two members from the residential property sector.

The role of the board is to “oversee delivery, land assembly and investment decisions”, and will “draw on expertise from across the housing and property sectors to help develop new policy for the capital”, according to the press announcement from the GLA.

Sadiq Khan says: “Homeownership has been slipping increasingly out of reach for more and more Londoners, and rents have been getting harder and harder to afford. I want to be honest with Londoners from the start that it will take time to turn things around - we're starting from a position where last year the previous mayor built the lowest number of affordable homes since records began.

“I am determined that Londoners get the same opportunities this great city gave me. That is why I am setting up my Homes for Londoners team to speed up homebuilding and to move towards 50% of new homes in London being genuinely affordable to rent and buy.”

David Montague, chair of the G15 housing association group, adds: "The Mayor of London has made housing a priority from day one, and we have been working with James Murray on a new strategic housing partnership. Homes for Londoners will bring together the GLA, housing associations, local authorities and housebuilders to tackle the capital's housing crisis. The priority now must be to build a long-term pipeline of clean serviced and consented land. With this we can guarantee apprenticeships, jobs, economic growth, thriving communities and affordable homes. Without it, London will lose out in the competition for investment and growth."

Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive London First, which has published a major report on Homes for Londoners, remarks: "The creation of Homes for Londoners is an important and encouraging step if we are to solve the capital's housing crisis. We want it to have a relentless focus on delivery, including getting more public land into the market."


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