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Sadiq Khan unveils £250m initiative to buy land for affordable homes

London Mayor Sadiq Khan
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Sadiq Khan has announced plans to earmark £250 million to buy and prepare land specifically for affordable homes, as he publishes his draft Housing Strategy for London 

Revealed today [6 September], the preliminary strategic document drawn up by the London Mayor outlines a number of proposals to address the housing crisis in the capital over the next few years, including a pledge to build 90,000 new affordable homes by 2021.

As part of this strategy, Khan will appoint technical ‘deal making’ experts to his Homes for Londoners team, who will identify and prepare new sites. He has also made it clear that, where necessary, he will be using City Hall’s statutory powers, such as Compulsory Purchase Orders, in order to secure the land needed for the new homes.

The new funds will be spent alongside the £3.15 billion budget from central government, which will be used to build affordable housing in London. City Hall will work with a number of house builders, including councils and housing associations, to implement the mayor’s plans.

It follows the announcement last week that CF Møller Architects will design an innovative new homes project billed by City Hall as the mayor of London’s first ’100 per cent affordable housing’ scheme – which will be built by Catalyst and Swan housing associations – on the derelict Webbs Industrial Estate in Waltham Forest (pictured below).

Webbs site cgi 2

Webbs site cgi 2

Other measures outlined in the emerging strategy include diversifying the housing sector to speed up the delivery of a range of homes by increasing the funding for self-build, modular and community-led housing projects and setting clear housing targets for councils.

Last month, Khan pledged £25 million of funding to compact-home specialist Pocket Living, which will help the developer start work on 1,059 new starter homes by March 2021, with a third expected to be prefabricated off-site. And, in April, Khan awarded a £500,000 grant to help build 22  ‘shell’ homes by OMMX Architects, made affordable through their basic design.

Khan launched his strategy as he met residents at two affordable housing schemes in Tower Hamlets, east London – Watts Road and Blackwall Reach. The latter of these is the controversial £300 million regeneration project to the former Robin Hood Garden Estate into 1,575 new homes, of which 679 will be affordable, with a new school, mosque and community facilities.

The London mayor said: ’From £250 million to kick-start my plans to secure more land for new and affordable homes, to a new model and fairer deal for millions of private renters, I want to help all Londoners facing the housing crisis. I will use my powers and resources to their fullest extent, but Government needs to play its part too by giving London the powers and resources we need to see an even greater step-change in the number of homes being built.

’This launch marks the start of a three-month consultation - I want as many Londoners as possible to let me know their views on how we can improve housing in London.’

Khan also said his draft Housing Strategy will help deliver a better deal for the two million private renters in the capital, by bringing together tenants, landlords, and boroughs to develop a ‘London Model’, which will focus on increasing tenancy security as well as protecting the rights of landlords. This proposal will be submitted to the government for consideration once it has been finalised.  

The launch of the draft Housing Strategy marks the latest move in the London mayor’s drive for affordable housing. Yesterday, Khan refused amended plans by Squire & Partners for a 20-storey 268-home scheme at the former Metropolitan Police HQ, New Scotland Yard, on the grounds that it did not provide enough affordable housing. 

Last month, Khan published his Supplementary Planning Guidance on viability and affordable housing, which states that developers offering at least 35 per cent affordable housing without public subsidy can expect a quicker route through the planning system.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • With land in the capital being so expensive this is a very small amount for a wealthy city.

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