When planning staffers at City Hall undertook a far ranging and detailed workshop with a pressure group in March on the future of housing and development in London, they probably didn’t expect the outcome of that workshop to be released in some very excellent notes of the meeting this week. So, what have we learnt?
The London Housing Strategy, which has been in preparation since last year, is being informally consulted upon and is now approaching a draft form fit for more formal consultation in August this year.
Redefining affordable housing
We’ve also seen confirmed that the growing pressure to recalibrate exactly what “affordable housing” is will start to take shape with “genuinely affordable” being social rent, or rent based on one third of local incomes.
Although Mayor Khan received much rebuff from supporters in 2016, following what appeared to be a U-Turn on his pledge to ensure 50% of builds in the capital are affordable, it’s clear he hasn’t given up on the prospect of landing in the vicinity. The 35% affordable threshold is here to stay and with grant top up, City Hall expects schemes to be providing around 40% affordable housing.
Empty properties not a major problem
Empty properties are not such a pressure on the capital, responding to questions on the matter the GLA maintain that just 0.6% of stock actually lies empty for more than 6 months.
TFL and other public sector land holdings
TFL won’t be ensuring that housing built on its land will be delivering 100% affordable and will instead require 50%, thereby allowing TFL to generate greater income and plough this back into fares and infrastructure.
Smaller sites held by TFL and the Met are likely going to be channelled off towards community housebuilding initiatives.
The march of City Hall seizing greater powers continues, with reference to wanting to assume greater levels of control over other public land in the capital.
City Hall doesn’t expect to gain greater regulatory powers on this front, the note also confirms that City Hall is a big fan of work done in LB Newham on landlord licensing and is slightly frustrated to see the approach not being taken up elsewhere by other boroughs.
Rent control is unlikely to come forward in August.
Overall, the GLA plans to provide a “novel package” of support for PRS within the upcoming LHS, but frustratingly, there’s not much on what this will entail.