Sadiq Khan’s draft London Plan has been attacked by the government for not doing enough to tackle the housing crisis
In a letter to the mayor, communities secretary James Brokenshire said Khan’s affordable homes targets were not high enough and criticised his spatial development strategy for allowing developers to build on people’s gardens.
The minister has threatened to intervene if the plan is not changed to reflect the government’s recently published National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) at the ’earliest opportunity’.
In the plan, published last December and welcomed by architects for its emphasis on design, the mayor increased the yearly target of affordable homes from 42,000 to 65,000.
However Brokenshire told Khan his target was not high enough. Government officials believe the target should be as high as 100,000 a year.
The minister wrote: ’London faces the most severe housing pressures in the country with median house prices now over 12 times median earnings – comparing to an England-wide ratio of below eight – and far more than what an individual can typically expect to borrow for a mortgage. This is clearly unacceptable.’
’I am not convinced your assessment of need reflects the full extent of housing need in London to tackle affordability problems’. Brokenshire also criticised the London Plan for allowing building on gardens and the ’detail and complexity’ of his wider policies, which he said had the potential to limit development.
But Khan hit back, in turn criticising the government for its ‘abject failure’ to deliver ‘genuinely’ affordable homes.
The 100,000 target had been ’plucked out of thin air’, he said, could only be achieved through building on the green belt, and would mean the loss of employment land vital to London’s economy.
A spokesperson said: ’With Sadiq as mayor, City Hall started building more genuinely affordable homes – including more social homes – last year than in any since devolution, smashing the record under previous mayors.
’This was despite the huge government cuts to housing funding the capital faces – with funding for London nearly two-thirds lower than the level left by the government in 2009-10.
’The capital generates £3 billion each year in stamp duty receipts for the Treasury, but currently sees less than a quarter of that money invested in new affordable homes. Rather than criticising the Mayor’s ambitious plan and plucking new numbers out of thin air, ministers should meet with him to discuss the powers and investment London urgently needs.’