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Khan's London Plan proposes 50% affordable housing and scrapping density limits

Sadiq khan caroline teo gla

Sadiq Khan has set out proposals for a 50 per cent affordable housing target and has shone a spotlight on good design in his draft London Plan published today

The ambitious 524-page document outlines major new changes to former mayor Boris Johnson’s London plan and includes removing housing density limits near town centres and transport hubs.

Khan said he wanted to ‘rip up existing planning rules’ in a bid to build 65,000 homes a year in the capital, and is pushing to build more homes on small sites in the city, saying there was capacity to build 24,500 homes a year in these areas.

The draft document also puts a heavy focus on design and includes amendments to the existing policy such as allowing local authorities to insist on the retention of an architect for delivery of schemes for which they grant planning.

Design takes up a major part of the plan, with 13 design policy areas highlighted in the document. The section includes steps to deliver ‘high-quality design’, maintaining design quality through to a project’s completion, as well as ensuring developments ‘achieve the highest standards of fire safety’.

Khan said: ‘I am using all of the powers at my disposal in my first draft London Plan to tackle the housing crisis head-on; removing ineffective constraints on homebuilders so that we can make the most of precious land in the capital to build more homes in areas with the best transport links.’

Regarding the fire safety of buildings, the plan calls for buildings to be constructed in an ‘appropriate way to minimise the risk of fire spread’, and for there to be a ‘suitable and convenient means of escape’ for all those in the building, as well as a ‘robust strategy for evacuation’. Critics have pointed to the fire spread and the evacuation strategy at Grenfell Tower as partly to blame for the blaze earlier this year being so deadly. 

In addition, the report states that tall buildings ‘have a role to play’ in the capital, but they must be ‘sustainably developed in appropriate locations, and [be] of the required design quality’.

The plan adds that the mayor will work with boroughs to provide a ‘strategic overview of tall building locations across London and will seek to utilise 3D virtual-reality digital modelling to help identify these areas’. 

On the mayor’s 50 Design Advocates, the document states that these people – who include David Adjaye, Alison Brooks and Sadie Morgan – will play a ‘key role in helping to deliver good design’ in London.

’They will help champion design across the GLA Group and beyond, through research, design review, capacity building, commissioning and advocacy,’ the document adds. 

The paper also provides guidance for making architecture more inclusive and accessible. 

Elsewhere, Khan’s London plan calls for the provision of more public toilets; protecting London’s green belt; exploring development options in the wider South East; increasing bike parking on new developments; and stronger protection for pubs. 


Readers' comments (3)

  • MacKenzie Architects

    You can't add 200,000 people a year to inner London without working on the infrastructure. Banning cars won't solve anything either if you don't sort out transport.
    Crossrail and Jubilee line extension were 20 years late and solve yesterday's problems, not today's.
    The tube system is now far too dangerous in peak times, and they won't do anything about it 'til there's a disaster. You imagine if last week's spontaneous 'gunfire' panic at Selfridges had happened on Oxford Circus Central Line platforms at 5:30pm.

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  • Chris Roche

    The big news here is that Local Authorities will have the capability to insist on the retention of the architect who obtained planning permission - and this in theory is a massive step forward. In practice RIBA will need to provide effective arguments for Local Authorities to take up this option which will be a challenge. Architects can clearly help themselves by tightening up their Copyright Clauses within their contracts to make it expensive for Clients to buy out the Design Copyright when moving from Design to Construction. Specialist legal advice suggests the 'Copyright" release fee should be the equivalent say of 20% of the remaining full service fee and therefore this will act as a deterrent to clients switching to a cheaper architect post planning.
    Once agin this is the best news in years.

    Chris Roche / Founder 11.04 Architects

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  • For Mackenzie Architects:
    That parts or all of some central London underground stations are way past their 'sell by dates' is inarguable - and is something that TfL should face up to sooner rather than later, rather than having to close stations when they become overcrowded. Just increasing train frequency isn't enough, and will likely aggravate this problem
    But surely the drive to provide more central London housing - assuming that it does function as housing rather than just as units of an internationally traded commodity - should help contain the increase in need for commuting, and thus the pressure on public transport.

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