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Boris pledges to build more than 40,000 homes per year

London Mayor Boris Johnson’s new London Housing Strategy aims to ‘increase the capital’s housing supply to levels not seen since the thirties’

Over the next decade Johnson wants to deliver more than 42,000 homes a year, at least 15,000 of which should be affordable, and 5,000 for long-term market rent.

However the report predicts London will need 60,000 new homes each year over for the ‘long-term’ future - its population having grown more in the last ten years than at any time in the city’s 2,000 year history.

The document contains plans to designate ten new ‘housing zones’ within London. These zones will benefit from tax incentives, ‘light touch’ planning, and more effective land assembly powers to stimulate housebuilding. The locations of these new zones will be announced in 2014.

Design will continue be a part of the new housing strategy. Minimum space standards remain ten per cent larger than the old Parker Morris standards and all new homes will be required to be built to these standards set out in the London Housing Design Guide.

Funding will be launched to ensure that by 2016 all council landlords will be able to resolve Decent Homes backlogs while supporting affordable housing providers to retrofit stock to improve energy performance.

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, 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.’

But Ian Liddell, head of development at WSP said the promised numbers would be a ‘huge challenge’. He 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 per cent leap in house building year on year. Particularly as only 12 of the 33 Opportunity Areas have agreed planning frameworks in place, and 60 per cent of the housing numbers are dependent on significant transport improvements.

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

Think tank and lobby group London Councils recently warned that the capital needs to build an additional 800,000 homes by 2021.

Steve Bullock, executive member for housing at London Councils, said: ‘The announcement of funding for housing in London is welcome; I am interested to see what proportion of this is new money. It sounds like a lot, but represents a fraction of the homes London needs. London Councils is calling for over 800,000 homes to be built by 2021 to safeguard London’s future prosperity and Londoners’ jobs: councils must be allowed to borrow and build for the remainder of the decade to have any hope of dealing with this housing crisis.’

The supply of new homes

Over the next ten years the GLA will aims to deliver:

  • 220,000 homes for open market sale
  • 50,000 homes for purpose-built long-term private rent
  • 150,000 affordable homes to rent or buy

Key policies contained in the plan

  • Every poorly insulated home will be retrofit by 2030
  • All affordable homes in London will be retrofitted by 2020
  • All new homes will be built to the London Housing Design Guide standards
  • New homes should be built to Lifetime Homes standards
  • Ten housing zones will be created
  • Opportunity areas will be brought forward for development

Consultation on the strategy runs until 17 February 2014.

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