Speeding up home building – London Mayor sets the ball rolling
On completing 100 days in office, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has made fresh announcements to speed up house building activities and enhance the delivery time of affordable London property.
These announcements are in sync with the promises made by Sadiq Khan before winning the Mayoral polls and clearly indicate the Mayor’s commitment to resolve the housing crisis in the long-term.
The note issued by the Mayor’s office captures his plans in detail. As a first step, he has begun recruiting new experts to scrutinise 'viability assessments' - the financial details that lie behind how much affordable housing new developments include. The experts, who will be drawn from finance surveyors and property consultant experts and will be based at City Hall will support housing delivery by making planning decisions faster and more consistent and ensuring new developments include the maximum amount of affordable housing.
The second important development is that the Mayor will lead a new 'Homes for Londoners' Board formed of London Boroughs, housing associations and developers. The Board will oversee delivery, land assembly and investment decisions, and will draw on expertise from across the housing and property sectors to help develop new policy for the capital. Both these announcements are critical for the stakeholders of London to make housing affordable to all.
Sadiq Khan is correct when he justifies his actions through his statement, “Homeownership has been slipping increasingly out of reach for more and more Londoners, and rents have been getting harder and harder to afford. I want to be honest with Londoners from the start that it will take time to turn things around - we're starting from a position where last year the lowest number of affordable homes were built since records began. I am determined that Londoners get the same opportunities this great city gave me. That is why I am setting up my Homes for Londoners team to speed up homebuilding and to move towards 50 per cent of new homes in London being genuinely affordable to rent and buy.”
It is evident from his statement that the Mayor is firm in his resolve to tackle the London housing crisis, which seems to be spiraling out of control. A review of capacity and skills across the GLA will now get underway. Its aim is to ensure the 'Homes for Londoners' team can play a more active role in the delivery of housing, particularly in bringing forward public land in London, and speeding up the planning process. This may also lead to additional expertise and support being recruited into the team in due course.
All these announcements come as welcome relief to thousands of prospective home-buyers, who are eagerly awaiting an intervention from the Mayor to make housing affordable to them. Over the next six months, as these steps are implemented, more reforms are likely to be announced by the Mayor.
Photo Credit: Rob Stothard