London Mayor to spend £250m on land for affordable homes

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced his intention to earmark £250 million for City Hall to use for buying and preparing land for new and affordable housing, as he published his first draft Housing Strategy for London.

The money made from selling the land to homebuilders will be recycled to buy further land for new and affordable homes, unlocking opportunities across the capital.

Alongside this major new drive to get more land for homes, Sadiq has also set out plans to bring together London’s private tenants and landlords to develop plans for a new ‘London Model’ of renting as he called on Government to help London’s increasingly hard-pressed renters.

The Mayor’s draft Housing Strategy provides a comprehensive plan to address the housing crisis over the next few years. This includes:

  • Starting to build 90,000 new affordable homes by 2021;
  • Ensuring a better deal for private renters;
  • Increasing the building of more genuinely affordable homes;
  • Supporting new housing providers including community builders; and
  • Helping tackle homelessness, with a way off the street for every rough sleeper.

Alongside earmarking money to secure land for affordable housing, the Mayor will also be recruiting new technical ‘deal making’ experts for his Homes for Londoners team, to identify and prepare the new sites. The Mayor has also made it clear that he is prepared to use City Hall’s statutory powers, including Compulsory Purchase, to their fullest extent where necessary to secure land for new and affordable homes.

The new land fund will be used alongside the record £3.15 billion affordable housing budget that Sadiq successfully negotiated from government, and City Hall will work with a range of home builders including councils, housing associations and commercial home builders on housing developments. This new approach follows the Mayor’s recent sale of the derelict Webbs Industrial Estate in Waltham Forest which will shortly become a new neighbourhood with 330 new homes to be built by Catalyst and Swan housing associations – 100 per cent of which will be genuinely affordable – together with workshops for local entrepreneurs and business start-ups.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said, “I inherited a development pipeline where just 13% of homes given planning permission were affordable, which is unacceptable. I’ve been honest from the start that turning things round will take time and fixing the housing crisis will be a marathon not a sprint, but my strategy sets out how we can start making a real difference to affordable housing in the city.

“From £250 million to kick-start my plans to secure more land for new and affordable homes, to a new model and fairer deal for millions of private renters, I want to help all Londoners facing the housing crisis. I will use my powers and resources to their fullest extent, but government needs to play its part too by giving London the powers and resources we need to see an even greater step-change in the number of homes being built.

“This launch marks the start of a three-month consultation – I want as many Londoners as possible to let me know their views on how we can improve housing in London.”

Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive member for housing, said, “The London Housing Strategy marks an important step in the long journey towards solving the capital’s housing crisis. Central government, the Mayor and the boroughs all have a part to play in ensuring we better meet the housing needs of all Londoners, making it possible for London to grow economically and continue to be a great place to live.”

Jonathan Seager, executive director of housing policy at London First, said, “We have to dramatically increase the number of new homes London is building, doubling the rate to 50,000 homes each year, so making more land available is absolutely critical. We’d also urge the Mayor to bring new ideas and new entrants into the market to finally tackle London’s housing crisis, including the build to rent developments that give people a better choice of secure, long-term places to live.”

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