London Mayor Boris Johnson has unveiled plans for 10 new Housing Zones as part of his drive to ‘turbo boost housing to 1930s levels’
Johnson has also pledged support for three new ‘garden suburbs’ on brownfield land at Barking Riverside, Beam Park in Dagenham and at Thamesmead in his revised London Housing Strategy published earlier today (28 March).
The Housing Zones would help speed up the construction of new homes through funding packages, planning incentives and a range of new models for delivery.
In a bid to double supply to at least 42,000 new homes a year, the Mayor also promised to work with government to find a way to sell off surplus strategic public land, including plots within the Housing Zones.
In addition Johnson outlined ‘bold new objectives for acquiring strategic land’ to accelerate development.
Other proposals in the Homes for London document (see attached) include new tailored, private sector housing for younger people and increased support for ‘lifetime neighbourhoods’, to create ‘accessible homes’ close to amenities within town centre developments to boost independent living for older people.
Johnson said: “My Housing Strategy sets out measures to tackle the colossal pressure on London’s property market and address the chronic 30 year failure to build enough homes in our city.
There is no single more important issue now than boosting supply
‘The good news is we have capacity for 42,000 more homes a year in inner London alone, plus a multitude of prime opportunity areas and programmes to trigger development. For me there is no single more important issue now than boosting supply, increasing investment in affordable housing and helping hard working Londoners find homes.
‘I can’t do this alone, and will be working closely with government, developers and boroughs to increase supply, stimulate building and tackle demand.’
Responding to the news, Paul Karakusevic of Karakusevic Carson Architects said: ‘The key issue is accessing meaningful public sector sites and land to build a new generation of social and affordable housing.
‘The design talent is available in London to make the most amazing new homes and neighbourhoods but initiatives to bring forward large sites seem to move at a glacial pace. Infrastructure, planning and procurement seem to frustrate really ambitious plans meaning each scheme takes years to come forward.’
Build quality is an issue when there’s a drive to develop homes in a rush
He added: ‘Build quality is also an issue when there is a drive to develop homes in a rush. These initiatives have to be design led rather than driven by contractors consortia.
‘Too many projects lack any design ambition resulting in poor design and shoddy workmanship.’
John Prevc of Make added: ‘Johnson’s suggestion that town centres would be great places for older people to live resonates well with the findings of our Future Spaces Foundation report, The Future High Street published earlier this month.
‘There is no better place for older people to live than next to the services and facilities they need to make their lives richer and happier. Easy access to doctors surgeries, shops, community centres and even places for casual employment means that our senior citizens can live longer and healthier lives. Having older people living at the heart of our communities is to be encouraged and we commend the Mayor of London for promoting a “Lifetime neighbourhood” policy.’
Roger Zogolovitch, creative director of developer Solidspace was particulalry interested in the range of initiatives for ‘specific target markets’ such as graduates. But added: ‘We would suggest that there is opportunity to widen these to include housing for singles and experimental forms ofurban housing.’
Let’s avoid the standard disposal programme to huge housebuilders
He went on: ‘Making the GLA a focus for acquiring strategic land is positive, but please let’s try to make innovative use of the administration of that land rather than the standard disposal programme to huge consortia of established housebuilders.’
Claire Bennie, Peabody’s development director also welcomed the revised strategy. She said: ‘We’re delighted the Mayor is backing Thamesmead as one of London’s garden suburbs, where we have exciting plans for the comprehensive regeneration of the area.’
Julian Stock of Stock Woolstencroft
”The basic demand for a home is a fundamental requirement of modern civilized society and the supply and demand imbalance in the UK housing market represents an area of opportunity for continued regeneration of our cities.
”It is clear that there remains a vast amount of underused post-industrial land for development in well connected and potentially desirable neighbourhoods. High-quality residential redevelopment of these sites will attract more people to our urban centres and increase the vibrancy of local communities.’