The London mayor Sadiq Khan has proposed relaxing planning laws in the capital to boost house building in its outer suburbs.
The Mayor’s long-awaiting London Plan sets out plans to build 650,000 new homes in the city, of which 250,000 would be in outer boroughs – such as Havering, Barnet and Hillingdon.
The Mayor has said he wants to build higher density housing, more tower blocks and more affordable housing in the capital. Currently, just 13 per cent of new London homes are deemed ‘affordable’.
Controversially, this 500-page draft plan proposes building 25,000 of these new homes on smaller plots. This would include plots adjacent to, or building on, existing residential and commercial buildings. This may include developments in back gardens.
For the first time, individual boroughs will be given a numerical target for how many homes they should build on small sites every year.
The mayor hopes that focusing development on the outer regions of London may help create more affordable housing options, as opposed to luxury inner city developments.
Speaking at the launch of the draft plan Khan said: “I am using all the powers at my disposal to tackle the housing crisis head on, removing ineffective constraints on homebuilders so we make the most of precious land in our capital.”
As part of these changes Khan is proposing that planners should no longer reject applications in order to preserve the character of areas within 800 metres of transport hubs or town centres.
However political opponents and critics have daubed the plan a “land grab” claiming Khan had “declared war on the suburbs”.
Conservative London Assembly member Andrew Boff says: “The mayor’s entire approach signals a downgrading in the quality of the capital’s housing and will leave outer London browner, overcrowded and harder to get around.
“The abandonment of sensible unit restrictions will see families crammed into rabbit hutch developments with no provision for parking if they live anywhere near a train station.”
In August the mayor launched the Supplementary Planning Guidance, designed to raise levels of affordable housing and speed up decisions in the planning system. This approach gave developers of private land a fast-track route through the planning process to bypass costly and lengthy negotiations.