Mind the Gap - Is land supply on track to meet London’s new housing targets?


Mind the Gap

Is land supply on track to meet London’s new housing targets?

02 Dec 2020
The housing targets proposed in the New London Plan (NLP) are ambitious, and they need to be. London has an imperative to be delivering more homes by every measure of need. However, an interrogation of the latest housing supply forecasts prepared by the London Boroughs suggest a lot more land is needed for these housing targets to be met.

In the three years to 2019, London has built an average of c.39,000 net additional dwellings. Achieving the proposed annual average NLP target of 52,000 between 2019 t0 2029 will clearly be a major step up in delivery. The NLP Inspectors concluded the ambitious new target to be ‘deliverable’, but the figure was capacity-driven and below assessed need. It was based on a top-down London capacity study prepared by the GLA (the 2017 SHLAA). Theoretically, then, there should be enough land supply in London based on this ‘macro’ assessment; but it leaves little wiggle room if any supply falls through or comes forward later than anticipated. To date, the question of five-year housing land supply (5YHLS) has not typically been part of the planning landscape in the way it is outside the M25, but the NLP ambitions – coupled with the sharper focus on deliverability in the 2019 NPPF – place a greater emphasis (than has hitherto been the case) on maintaining a realistic approach to land supply by individual Boroughs tasked with implementing the Mayor’s vision.

In this Insight, we have looked at London’s supply from a ‘bottom up’ perspective to see whether the 32 Boroughs (excluding The City of London and the development corporations) themselves have identified sufficient sites to meet the emerging NLP ten-year target to 2029. This provides a gauge as to what additional – if indeed any – supply needs to be identified to have a realistic chance of meeting the NLP’s capacity-based targets.
Our research goes a step further and considers how accurate the Borough’s housing forecast of future housing supply might be by comparing their previous forecasts with actual delivery.