The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has demonstrated his determination to get London building the affordable homes it needs by ripping up existing planning rules and calling on homebuilders to develop sites at higher housing densities to substantially increase capacity in the capital.
In a major housing policy in his new draft London Plan – launched today at Barking Riverside – the Mayor has removed outdated constraints and rigid density guidelines to give a significant boost to the number of new and affordable homes given planning permission in the capital.
Sadiq has thrown out the previous Mayor’s policy, which proved complicated and set meaningless maximum rules for the number of homes on developments, in favour of boosting the number of well-designed homes sites can deliver.
In his new draft London Plan, the capital’s strategic planning bible, the Mayor has set out how he will ask homebuilders to maximise the use of valuable land in the city - and that means developing sites with more homes on them than existing developments nearby that would have had to follow previous guidelines. Sadiq believes increased numbers of homes should be built on sites near town centres or good public transport, reducing the need for car parking spaces within developments. The Mayor’s Plan says proposed development on sites that do not clearly maximise housing density should be refused.
The new policy also emphasises the importance of good design and will be applicable to buildings of all types, including low-rise, medium and high-rise. This new approach is supported by a far stronger policy on housing standards, including minimum space standards, which sets out how a home should be designed. The Mayor is clear that, while he is encouraging homebuilders to make best use of land in the capital, he expects councils to refuse any applications that come forward with homes that do not meet his new standards.
The draft London Plan also includes the Mayor’s key strategic housing commitment for 50 per cent of all new homes built to be genuinely affordable – to be achieved through planning, investment and building on public land. It strengthens his new approach offering private developers a fast-track route to planning permission if they reach a minimum of 35 per cent affordable.
The Mayor is also using his London Plan to provide greater protections for industrial land while also looking at innovative solutions such as stacking up distribution sheds or encouraging development of industrial workspaces side by side with new homes to knit industry back into the fabric of the city.
To deliver an inclusive environment and meet the needs of all Londoners, development proposals are required to achieve the highest standards of accessible and inclusive design – see Policy D3 Inclusive Design (p106). A number of other policies also aim to address the need to create an accessible and inclusive environment including Policy D5 Accessible housing (p115), D11 Fire safety (p134,) S6 Public toilets (p218), E10 Visitor infrastructure (p261) and T6.1 Residential parking (p423).
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