Countrywide has taken the unusual step, for an estate agency group, of stepping into next year’s London mayoral election by setting a series of housing challenges for candidates.
In a new report it calls for the next mayor, to be elected in May, to:
• agree to more ambitious housing targets. Countrywide says at least 59,000 new homes should be built each year for the next decade;
• initiate a Green Belt review. The group says that around stations within London’s Green Belt there is space for 213,000 new homes, or more if the mayor works with local councils to identify and release land for development;
• create ‘enabling infrastructure’. Countrywide says the still-to-be-confirmed route of Crossrail 2 could be considered for extension, and areas around stations should be ear-marked for development;
• expanding housing horizons beyond starter homes. The group wants the mayor to lobby government to exempt London from the starter home scheme which are, in the report’s words, “less affordable than every other low-cost housing tenure.”
Countrywide’s research director, Johnny Morris, says population projections have repeatedly under-forecast London’s growth. As a result “the current potential for building within existing policy measures is not enough to meet housing need.”