London planning news, August 2020


London planning news, August 2020

05 Aug 2020



Headline news


Mayoral Taskforce calls for investment in construction jobs and tech

The Mayor’s COVID-19 Housing Delivery Taskforce has published an Action Plan to support London’s housing sector recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Set up in April, the taskforce includes representatives from London boroughs, housing associations, the development and construction industries, including the G15 group, London First and the Housebuilder Federation.
The Taskforce’ report sets out more than sixty recommendations intended to cut across the six core principles, which it believes will be essential for the Government and housing sector to embed in order to respond effectively to the challenges ahead.
These principles are:
  • building resilience in construction;
  • strengthening housing demand and increasing supply of affordable homes;
  • maintaining a healthy pipeline of implementable schemes;
  • addressing development viability challenges; and
  • building a pipeline of developable land.
In the short run, the Taskforce recommends the Government act on its review of planning fees and allow boroughs to set their own planning fees; it should also work with the Mayor, councils and the wider housing sector, to establish a single application process for all scheme amendments.
The Taskforce also calls on the government to implement clearer guidance for applicants and boroughs on appropriate approaches to support delivery through a number of different means, including re-phasing of projects; reducing market exposure through investment and early delivery of affordable housing and infrastructure; and also for promoting diversity of affordable and market tenures.
Substantial increases in grant funding for affordable housing are called for, with the Taskforce estimating that current grant funding should be extended to at least £4.9 billion per year to properly meet the capital’s needs. The Accelerated Construction Fund and Small Sites Fund, both of which are administered by the GLA, should be expanded upon and consolidated into a new Land Assembly Fund.
The Taskforce also recommends that the Mayor to incentivise and support all boroughs to rapidly implement the ‘threshold approach’ to affordable housing.
The Taskforce also calls for £3.5bn of funding to support a ‘buyer of last resort’ scheme. Such a scheme would enable boroughs to buy unsold private homes for the affordable market at cost price if a buyer cannot be found. This it believes would give the private sector confidence to continue schemes rather than downing tools. A further £1.33bn is also requested, in order help facilitate tenure swaps in the remaining three years of the Affordable Homes Programme. The Taskforce estimate this funding package would ensure the delivery of nearly 44,000 new homes in the capital.
Government should also incentivise public landowners to dispose of surplus public sector land for affordable housing-led development; whilst councils should also proactively engage with local Community Land Trusts.
In the longer term, it argues that the government should review the benefit to cost ratio rules for its Land Assembly Fund, provide additional funding to councils to expand in-house capacity, and also allow councils to raise funds for infrastructure investment by borrowing against future Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) receipts.
Tom Copley, the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Chair of the Taskforce commented:
“We are ready and waiting to build on our existing efforts to transform the lives and opportunities of Londoners by building the new homes that are needed. Failure to do so will condemn all but the wealthiest among us to costly and poor-quality homes. We present this report to the wider housing sector, and to Government, as a blueprint for recovery.”

COVID-19 Housing Delivery Taskforce, London's Covid-19 Housing Delivery Recovery Plan




Quote of the month

Government should work with the GLA, boroughs and the sector to establish a single application process for all scheme amendments, building on work undertaken by the Planning Officers’ Society

Recommendations within the COVID-19 Housing Taskforce


Mayor requests additional funding for affordable homes

Sadiq Khan has written to the Government, requesting they “put political differences aside” and enter into negotiations for a significant increase in investment for social housing and affordable homes.
Khan’s letter states:
“[…] Along with London’s housing sector, I am clear that to deliver affordable homes at a scale which matches both London’s need and our collective ambitions will require significantly more investment from the Government. To give you a sense of the scale of the challenge we face, joint research between the GLA and the G15 group of large London housing associations has found we require £4.9 billion per year over ten years to deliver at the scale needed. We stand ready to rise to this challenge if you will provide us with the resources to do so.

Mayor of London, Mayor calls on Government to give London affordable homes funding

‘Good Growth’ funding allocated for regeneration projects at the Royal Docks

£13 million of funding has been announced to help drive the regeneration of London’s Royal Docks. 
The Royal Docks Good Growth Fund has been drawn up to support the needs of the area, with the aim of encouraging local organisations to play a central role in the delivery of projects in the area. Funding is open to public, private and third-sector organisations, and is capable of covering up to 50 per cent of the total project value, with the remainder covered by the applicant.
Funding will be allocated by the Local Economic Action Partnership, with the aim of supporting projects which are inclusive, innovative and tackle some of the key challenges facing the Royal Docks. It will also seek to stimulate economic activity, whilst creating new jobs and workplaces, that are accessible to the local community.
The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said:
“As the capital’s only Enterprise Zone, Newham’s Royal Docks has a rich history of innovation and transformation. This funding will provide further incentives for local businesses, organisations and residents to shape its future, so all members of our diverse community can access and share the benefits of the Good Growth Fund and deliver for London.”
The draft new London Plan indicates that the area is capable of delivering 35,000 jobs, 4,000 new homes and more than £5 billion of inward investment by 2037/38.

Mayor of London, Mayors launch £13m fund to help transform Royal Docks

Possible changes to key worker housing

The Mayor is consulting on potential changes to policies on intermediate tenures housing delivered by the planning system.
The changes proposed are to ensure that London remains affordable for key workers who may not qualify for access to homes at social rent are met. The intermediate housing preferred by the Mayor is London Shared Ownership, which is available to households with an annual income of up to £90,000 per, and London Living Rent, which is available to those with a household income of up to £60,0000.
The consultation includes proposals to introduce a “core list” of key workers who could be prioritised for shared ownership and London Living Rent homes, whilst raising the question of which occupations would be included on this. It also asks how the affordability of intermediate housing can be approved, what can be done to support the delivery of additional intermediate homes, and how the transparency and consistency of housing allocations can be improved.
The Mayor commented:
“Londoners know how much we value and depend on the hard work of the key workers who keep London running even during a time of crisis. […] By helping people buy or rent a home below the market rate we encourage them to put down roots, become part of a community and help London thrive.”
Any changes to policy could be implemented either under the Mayor’s planning powers or through the next Affordable Homes Programme.

Mayor of London, Mayor proposes priority housing for key workers

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