London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan has ordered a review of the capital’s 31 housing zones in a bid to increase the availability of affordable new homes
While he praised the scheme for its success in ‘acquiring land and infrastructure to support housing delivery’, Khan told London Assembly members yesterday (22 June) he wanted a full audit of the zones as part of his pledge to increase the level of affordable homes in new developments to 50 per cent.
The housing zones were the brainchild of former London mayor Boris Johnson, created to speed up delivery of 77,000 new homes.
The 31 areas, which included programmes in Abbey Wood, Tottenham, Lambeth, Meridian Water and Blackhorse Lane, shared £600 million of funding from the mayor.
Labour group member Tom Copley said Khan was ‘right to review’ the housing zones, and added: ‘Given the previous mayor’s litany of failures on housing, Londoners need to have confidence that City Hall gets this right. In particular Londoners will want reassurance about the delivery of genuinely affordable homes.
‘The mayor’s new vehicle, Homes for Londoners, is an ambitious approach to London’s housing crisis unmatched by any Tory ambitions, and it is right that housing zones are reviewed while this is set up.’
However the Conservative party slammed the move, claiming the audit – which could take up to six months – would potentially delay the building of ‘thousands of new homes’ and bring ‘uncertainty over the future of major supporting infrastructure projects’.
Conservative London Assembly member Andrew Boff said: ‘[Khan] seems more interested in scoring political points off his predecessor than rolling up his sleeves and delivering the homes that London needs.
‘This wasteful review will only cause huge uncertainty over major building projects and thousands of jobs, and undermines the good work carried out by Boris.’
Boff also hit out at Khan for failing to appoint a deputy mayor for planning.
Oliver Goodhall of We Made That
We get it. London needs to build more homes. But a review of housing zones could be a good opportunity to encourage boroughs to think more holistically about the places they are creating through delivering these new homes. How will they integrate better with their existing surroundings? and particularly what type of employment is being supported in them? With both new homes and more jobs, the mayor needs to ensure that this growth is equitable.
Russell Curtis of RCKa
I can think of certain other Boris projects that are far more deserving of reassessment than the housing zones programme, although if this review is with the express intention of increasing affordable housing provision and speeding up delivery then it can only be welcomed. The risk, of course, is that this in fact leads to delays and attempts at political point-scoring which London can ill afford.
The review therefore needs to be tightly focused and non-partisan, with the remit and timescale clearly established from the outset to ensure that this exercise doesn’t end up simply kicking the can further down the road.
A spokesman for Farrells
Irrespective of whether housing zones are the right delivery model or not, the fundamentals of London’s vital and urgent housing needs remain the same. We look forward to working with the new mayor to deliver the high-quality places and homes the capital needs.