Khan aims to double rate of housebuilding in draft London Plan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has proposed a raft of changes to the capital’s planning rules in the latest draft London Plan.

Included in the draft is an ambitious target for councils as Khan aims to build 65,000 homes every year – roughly double the current housebuilding rate.

This will be achieved through the removal of density limits, allowing homes to be built closer to town centres and transport hubs, one of the central alterations to London’s “planning bible.”

Most of the new policies look to maximise the use of land that is available in the capital, with Khan also stating that he supports the construction of tall buildings as long as they are “in the right places and to high design and safety standards.”

Included in the announcement is another assurance from the mayor that London will target affordable housing as 50% of new homes, building on a fast-track route for developers which gives quicker planning permission if they commit to a minimum of 35% affordable homes on new sites.

Speaking at the launch of the draft plan, Khan argued new housing plans were vital to plan for growth, with the capital’s population expected to increase by 70,000 every year, reaching 10.8 million in 2041.

“I am using all of the powers at my disposal in my first draft London Plan to tackle the housing crisis head-on – removing ineffective constraints on homebuilders so that we can make the most of precious land in the capital to build more homes in areas with the best transport links,” he explained.

“My London Plan sets out how we are planning for the challenges our great city faces, but crucially focuses on my vision of a London that welcomes growth, celebrates its diversity and ensures every Londoner gets the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

The plan also introduces new ‘growth corridors,’ setting apart areas of higher density alongside new infrastructure which will support the development of jobs and homes.

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ executive member for housing, said: “The sheer scale of the housing crisis in London is unparalleled.

“The mayor’s work to set out a vision for London’s development and deliver it with London boroughs and other key partners such as TfL and the construction industry demonstrates his understanding of how only sustained and co-ordinated efforts across different sectors can hope to fix the capital’s broken housing market.”

While Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of business group London First, commented: “London's success comes from the people who live and work here and we've been failing to build the homes they need for too long. The mayor’s commitment to tackling our housing crisis is hugely welcome, but the London Plan must now deliver its part.

“By being smart about how and where we build, making better use of land and setting targets that councils can and must hit, the mayor will help open a door for the countless people priced out of a place to call home.”

These announcements follow wider ambitions from the government to build 300,000 houses a year over the next five years.

This target is supported by budget commitments to pledge an additional £15.3bn of support for housing schemes – bringing the total to £44bn – while increasing freedom for councils to borrow beyond the current housing borrowing cap.

The draft London Plan launched today, but a three-month consultation will officially start on Friday, at which point interested parties will be able to comment on the full plan here.

Top image: Lauren Hurley PA Wire

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