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Khan publishes guidance on building affordable homes

Words: Laura Edgar
Sadiq Khan / Shutterstock: 419649955

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has published supplementary planning guidance that seeks to speed up decisions in the planning system and increase the levels of affordable housing.

He has also set out a funding programme for how the £3.15 billion allocated to City Hall in the Autumn Statement will support the building of 90,000 affordable homes.

Previous affordable housing investment rules were rigid, Khan said, including no investment for mainstream low-cost rented housing. After negotiations with the government, new rules mean investment in the capital can be spent on a mix of homes for low-cost rent and affordable home ownership.

Therefore, the 90,000 affordable homes will be a mix of low-cost rent, shared ownership and London Living Rent (one-third of the average household incomes in each borough).

Most of the homes will be delivered by housing associations under the condition that plans must include a minimum of 50 per cent affordable housing.

Khan said: “I have been clear that fixing the housing crisis will be a marathon and not a sprint, but I am determined to lead from the front and get on with building genuinely affordable homes for Londoners to rent and buy.

“These announcements demonstrate real progress on the long road towards fixing London’s housing crisis.

“The record-breaking investment I have agreed with government means we can start building a range of different affordable homes to suit Londoners’ needs. Together with my new planning guidance, we can begin to boost the number of homes built in London and move towards a long-term strategic goal of half of all new homes being genuinely affordable."

Khan’s Draft Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance 2016 is the “first step” to raising affordable housing levels. It has been developed following discussions with the housing industry and councils.

It covers the threshold approach to viability appraisals and a specific approach to Build to Rent schemes.

Khan proposes a Build to Rent “pathway” through the planning system to increase the number of this type of housing and the quality of them.

Its key principles include a clear definition of Build to Rent with guidance on how and when a covenant through planning should apply to a Build to Rent scheme. The suggested covenant is 15 years and longer tenancies, “ideally three years or more”, would be offered.

All homes in a development would need to be Build to Rent.

Additionally, the pathway “recognises the need for all homes on the Build to Rent development to stay under single management and as such will encourage affordable homes on the development to be delivered at discounted market rent, managed by the Build to Rent provider,” states the draft guidance.

A public consultation on the guidance will run for three months until 28 February 2017.

The guidance and more information on the consultation can be found on the Greater London Authority website.

Image credit | Shutterstock