Architects have backed London mayoral hopeful Ken Livingstone’s promise to restore the requirement for half of all new housing in the capital to be affordable
The Labour candidate’s election manifesto announces plans to restore the 50 per cent affordable housing target which was abandoned by current mayor Boris Johnson.
The manifesto says: ‘No borough should be able to get away with failing to build affordable homes for its residents.
‘I will again expect 50 per cent of homes built in London to be affordable and will move as rapidly as possible towards ensuring that at least one third of new homes are for social rent. I will also set an ambitious target for family homes.’
Simon Allford of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris welcomed the policy.
‘Yes we need more homes,’ he said, adding: ‘but they need to be affordable to a wider range of people and more than the narrow band that currently meet the “affordable” criteria.’
However he warned a 50 per cent target could slow development and urged the prospective mayor to ‘throw in government land at a discount’ and ‘encourage increased density whilst raising space standards’.
He added: ‘Rigid use class orders, fear of development volume and current regulations on overlooking are what’s holding housing back.’
Chris Williamson of Weston Williamson said: ‘Like many of Ken Livingstone’s ideas it is a very laudable aim but many developers will find it difficult to achieve.’
Livingstone’s manifesto also pledged to make it easier for expanding churches to win planning, to deny planning permission for new waste incinerators, to provide £5,000 grants for neighbourhood planning and to oppose the Thames Estuary airport.
He also promised ‘tough planning regulations’ on private developments to ensure such schemes ‘reflect the needs of all Londoners, not just the very wealthy’.
Further policies include restoring the 50 per cent of market rents ceiling for affordable housing, using GLA land assets to build more homes and investigating innovative ways of financing projects.
Would Ken Livingstone's 50 per cent affordable housing target boost residential construction in London?