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Draft London Plan published with Clear Focus on Increasing Housing Land Supply

The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has published a new Draft of the London Plan, with consultation comments invited until 2 March 2018. With the population of London projected to increase to 10.5 million by 2041, there is a clear focus on housing provision as a key element of delivering sustainable growth, and seeking to address the lack of housing availability and affordability in the capital.

Some notable proposed policies for upping the delivery of housing include:

  • A target for the provision of at least 65,000 homes per year (up from just over 42,000), across London to meet the current demand. Over one third of these houses are identified to be built in 13 outer suburban boroughs. Barnet, Brent, Croydon and Ealing are the four outer-London Boroughs where the greatest number of dwellings will need to be provided.
  • Ten-year housing targets are set for boroughs, encouraging the preparation of delivery-focused Development Plans, the development of windfall sites and enabling housing delivery within Opportunity Areas. The Boroughs of Barnet, Greenwich, Newham and Tower Hamlets will all need to provide in excess of 30,000 new homes between 2019 and 2029, according to the Draft Plan.
  • Councils should re-evaluate land use designations in order to optimise the potential of land for housing, particularly where new sustainable infrastructure is planned to accommodate higher density residential and mixed-use developments.
  • Subject to certain criteria, there will be a specific presumption in favour of residential schemes providing up to 25 new homes where it is:
    • infill development or an underused site;
    • an increase in density of existing housing, within sustainable and accessible locations; or
    • the redevelopment or upward extension of flats and non-residential buildings.
  • A target of 50% of all new homes to be affordable. There is an emphasis on the provision of affordable housing ‘on-site’ unless there are exceptional circumstances. There is also a minimum threshold for affordable housing provision of 35% on privately-owned development sites, sites providing 10 or more units, or a combined floor space of greater than 1,000sq.m.

Turning to matters away from housing, the Draft Plan includes a Policy specifically seeking the protection of pubic houses. The Policy, interestingly contained within the Heritage and Culture Chapter of the Plan, states that boroughs should:

  • protect public houses where they have a heritage, economic, social or cultural value to local communities, and where they contribute to wider policy objectives for town centres, night-time economy areas and Creative Enterprise Zones; and
  • support proposals for new public houses to stimulate town centre regeneration, cultural quarters, the night-time economy and mixed-use development, where appropriate.

With regards visitor and tourist infrastructure, the Draft Plan generally seeks to enhance and improve provision, with a particular encouragement for new Serviced Accommodation – particularly focussed for business visitors and also the provision of Apart-Hotels and short-term lettings, providing this does not compromise localised housing provision and delivery.

It should be noted that whilst the publication of the Draft London Plan does propose measures specifically designed to increase housing supply across London, these are not expected to be formally adopted until the autumn of 2019, at the earliest. The draft does, however, provide a clear message to the London Boroughs that the Mayor is serious about addressing issues of housing supply in the capital by removing some of the perceived obstacles to obtaining planning permission. This being said, as the Plan maintains and reiterates the importance of protecting and conserving Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land, creative and in some cases very difficult solutions will need to be arrived at, and supported by Officers and Members, if the ambitious housing targets are to be met within an already heavily urbanised area.

Should you require further guidance on the contents of the Draft London Plan, or wish to discuss the scope for making representations in support of your interests, please contact our Bourne End Office, in the first instance.

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