New homes at the centre of London boroughs’ five year plan

A new report produced by the Centre for London this month reveals that over the next five years, London councils could provide 37,300 homes across the capital.

Currently, some 22 London boroughs are building more new homes for the first time in seven years, with existing development schemes having increased from 2,100 in 2011 to an estimated 23,600 by the end of 2018.

London councils are increasingly aware of a need to boost local housing in their communities, to include shared ownership, affordable housing and privately owned as well as rental properties. This has a positive impact on local areas and quality of life and provides a much needed source of revenue to invest back into local amenities and infrastructure.

Sharing expertise and relaxing planning

However, this new report identifies that currently the level of new housing local councils are delivering is being hindered by several factors including: development and planning issues, restrictive borrowing criteria, a lack of internal knowledge and resources, cross council obstacles and insufficient government support.

Victoria Pinoncely, research manager at the Centre for London, said: “As it stands, councils have one hand behind their backs. Restricted access to funding, underfunded planning departments and weak political support for schemes hampers their ability to deliver the homes the London desperately needs. These barriers need to be removed if we’re to realise the full potential of borough builders and meet the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s ambitious housing targets.”

Boroughs working together to build homes

The report highlights that there is scope for around 37,300 new homes to be built over the next five years if every one of London’s 32 boroughs committed to delivering a minimum of 10% of their draft New London Plan target, either directly or through a wholly owned company; this would equate to 12% of London’s total housing target.
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The latest findings urge the government to take a more relaxed approach to funding and support local councils in their ability to deliver new homes. It would like to see Sadiq Khan promote partnerships at a sub-regional level between boroughs. It suggests the Greater London Council should use the Public Practice scheme to allow the pooling of expertise among development staff to enable more new housing to be built and calls on policyholders to assist and support boroughs to greater extent.

Pinoncely added: “Boroughs are already making a significant contribution towards achieving the aims of the draft New London Plan on small sites, but if every borough were involved or did more, it could represent a real step change in new housing delivery.”

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