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Government orders London Mayor to build more homes

The Government has taken the unusual step of intervening in the London Plan to boost housebuilding in the capital.  

Housing Secretary Michael Gove has criticised Mayor of London, claiming Sadiq Khan’s plan to build homes is holding back housebuilding.

Gove has ordered Khan to conduct a partial review of the London Plan and asked the Greater London Authority to report back findings in September. This will focus on two specific areas:  
•    Industrial land: an estimated 6,800 hectares of land is being used for industry in the capital. Of this, 736 hectares, the equivalent of approximately 900 football pitches, could potentially be turned into housing developments, but are stuck in the planning system, and developers have said the current policy is too restrictive. 
•    Opportunity areas: these are 47 areas across London that the Mayor and the Greater London Authority have identified as each typically having the potential to deliver at least 2,500 new homes or 5,000 new jobs (or a combination of the two), but too many have made almost no progress and others appear to have plateaued. The Government has asked the Mayor to ensure the list of areas is sufficiently targeted, consider how other policies in the plan that constrain capacity or delivery might be adjusted, and asked if there is a role for a single planning framework to accelerate housing. 

Gove said: “Londoners are being let down by the Mayor’s chronic under delivery of new homes in the capital. We have already taken comprehensive action to reverse this trend - investing billions of pounds to build affordable homes and unlocking brownfield developments as part of our Long-Term Plan for Housing.  

“However, that alone will not build the homes we need, which is why I am now directing the Mayor to review aspects of the London Plan and announcing specialist support on planning to help unlock thousands of homes.   

“I look forward to continuing to work with the Greater London Authority, councils and the sector so we can get spades in the ground and deliver the homes the capital needs.”

Minister for London Greg Hands added: “It is unacceptable that Londoners don’t have access to the homes they need due to persistent under-delivery of home building, which is why we’re directing the Mayor to review London Plan policies.

“This action comes on top of millions of pounds in government investment to regenerate estates, unlock major brownfield sites, and build thousands of new homes. But government cannot act in isolation - we need the Greater London Authority to step up and work with us, so we can provide affordable housing for all.”

Responding to the announcement, a London Labour spokesperson, said: “This is nothing more than stunt from the Government to distract from their abysmal record of failure. The facts are clear, while Sadiq has been Mayor, London has outbuilt the rest of the country.

"Under a Labour Mayor, housing completions in the capital have hit the highest level since the 1930s, according to the Government’s own data. London is also delivering twice the level of council homebuilding as the rest of the country combined, showing up the Tories’ dismal failure nationally.”


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