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Brokenshire tells Khan London Plan will be examined against previous NPPF

Words: Laura Edgar
Housing secretary James Brokenshire / Chris McAndrew

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has announced that the draft London Plan will be examined against the previous National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) so that the Mayor of London can ‘continue to progress’ the plan.

The announcement comes in a letter from Brokenshire to Sadiq Khan following the publication of the revised NPPF last week (24 July).

Brokenshire notes that London faces the “most severe housing pressures”, with average house prices now over 12 times median earnings, which is “clearly unacceptable”.

While welcoming the proposed increase of London’s housing target from 42,000 to 65,000 homes a year as a “helpful first step” to meeting the capital’s need, Brokenshire explains that he is "not convinced your assessment of need reflects the full extent of housing need in the London to tackle affordability problems".

Having listened to Khan’s representations as well as others, Brokenshire says that the public interest lies with making sure the mayor is delivering the homes London needs as quickly as possible.

Therefore, Brokenshire writes: “I have decided to amend footnote 69 of the revised National Planning Policy Framework so that the draft London Plan will be examined against the previous National Planning Policy Framework rather than new national policy. This will mean you can continue to progress your plan and start delivering your London Plan targets for which you are responsible”.

The draft London Plan will need to have regard to other new national policies, however, and Brokenshire expects Khan to review the London Plan once it has been published so that it reflects the revised NPPF.

The housing secretary also drew attention to issues the government has with the draft London Plan, including policy areas that are inconsistent with national policy and that it “strays considerably beyond” providing a strategic framework.

He emphasised that he has powers to intervene before the plan is published and that as the Mayor of London, Khan is “responsible for delivering” the housing required and will be held to account for delivering London’s housing targets.

In a statement sent to The Planner, a spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “With Sadiq as Mayor, City Hall started building more genuinely affordable homes – including more social homes – last year than in any since devolution, smashing the record under previous mayors.

“This was despite the huge government cuts to housing funding the capital faces – with funding for London nearly two-thirds lower than the level left by the government in 2009/10.

“The evidence speaks for itself: more genuinely affordable and social homes under this mayor and nothing but abject failure from the current government.

“The capital generates £3 billion each year in stamp duty receipts for the Treasury, but currently sees less than a quarter of that money invested in new affordable homes. Rather than criticising the mayor’s ambitious plan and plucking new numbers out of thin air, ministers should meet with him to discuss the powers and investment London urgently needs.”

The letter can be found here on the UK Government website (pdf).

Read more:

Government publishes revised NPPF

Spring Statement 2018: Hammond backs West Midlands to build 215,000 homes in 10 years

Image credit | Chris McAndrew