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‘Radical’ devolution needed to tackle London’s housing crisis – Kerslake

‘Radical’ action, including devolution, is necessary to solve London’s housing crisis, Lord Bob Kerslake has said.

The final report from the London Housing Commission, published today, warns that London needs to build 50,000 houses each year to keep pace with its growing population, but that last year only 25,000 were built.

It calls on the next mayor of London, due to be elected in May, and leaders of the 33 London boroughs to ask central government to exempt London from the National Planning Policy Framework and instead give the mayor’s London Plan the same status, and to allow the London Housing Committee to set planning fees for London.

Lord Kerslake, chair of the commission, said: “The London Housing Commission does not claim to have all of the answers, but it is clear that the status quo will not do.

“The housing crisis will not solve itself, and radical measures of the sort we outline in this report will go a long way to delivering the volume of quality, affordable homes that the capital desperately needs.”

The report warns that the consequences of London’s housing crisis include a struggle for businesses to find staff, poverty, overcrowding and the high cost of temporary housing to the government.

It calls for immediate action from the mayor and boroughs, including speeding up the release and development of public land, working with Transport for London to review the potential for high-density development near rail, train and bus stations, conducting annual audits of planning applications, and launching a London lettings hub to link tenants up with accredited landlords.

The commission’s recommendations join Nicky Gavron, chair of the London Assembly’s planning committee, in calling for ‘bold thinking’ to accommodate London’s growing population in the latest edition of PSE.

Councils have also recently urged the government to devolve planning in the north and the south east.

Lord Kerslake, who also chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Reform, Decentralisation and Devolution, recently told PSE that a more unified approach is needed if devolution is to be successful.


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