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Sat September 25 2021

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London wants to build a million new homes in the next 20 years

25 Nov 13 A strategy for building nearly a million new homes in London over the next 20 years has been published by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson said that London was “facing the epic challenge of building more than 42,000 new homes a year, every year, for twenty years”.

He said they had to be “inspiring new homes in attractive neighbourhoods… not just serried ranks of stultifying rabbit hutches”.

The population of London has grown from 6.7m in 1986 to 8.4m in 2013. It is projected to reach 9m by 2020 and 10m by 2030.

The Homes for London document sets out a wide range of proposals for building new homes and improving old one.

The Greater London Assembly (GLA) is to lobby central government to relax local authority borrowing rules for house-building. It is also preparing a discussion document on the idea of setting up a London Housing Bank.

The GLA will also promote garden suburbs on sites such as Barking Riverside.

At least 10% of all new homes to be built will be wheelchair accessible.

Developers will be encouraged to provide private rented homes on schemes with more than one phase, to deliver at least 5,000 homes per annum across London. These homes will be covenanted for long-term private rented usage for at least 15 years.

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The GLA is one of the largest public landowners in the capital, with 625 hectares of land. Since 2012, around 130 hectares has been released so far, with a development value of £3.5bn.

It is estimated that 40% of brownfield land suitable for development in London is in the public sector, including both central and local government. The mayor and the GLA want to speed up its disposal for development.

The British Property Federation (BPF) liked the Mayor's idea of having 10 new designated housing zones, similar to Enterprise Zones, within London’s 33 ‘opportunity areas’.

BPF director of policy Ian Fletcher said: “The proposals laid out in today's draft housing strategy are an excellent step forward on the road to tackling the housing crisis once and for all. We are wholly supportive of the Mayor's intentions, and today call on the Treasury to help bring them into fruition through targeted tax and planning assistance, so that plans and ideas can become real investment and house building.”

Ian Liddell, head of development at consultant WSP, said: “Boris rightly acknowledges that building 42,000 homes per year - 14,000 more than we’re building currently – is a huge challenge.

“It’s hard to imagine, without significant change and investment, how we’re going to make a 50% leap in house building year on year. Particularly as only 12 of the 33 Opportunity Areas have agreed planning frameworks in place, and 60% of the housing numbers are dependent on significant transport improvements - including the examples highlighted by Boris in today’s report.

“The only way to achieve this is give the Mayor greater control over the planning system to fast-track development and infrastructure.”

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