The strategy for tackling London’s housing crisis
With London’s current statistics demonstrating a desperate need for affordability (for the private renters, workers and the homeless), Sadiq Khan’s 2021 Plan outlines how the government plans to tackle the situation.
The Plan identifies space needed for over 52,000 homes per year, with a set target of 50% of those homes being “genuinely affordable”. The Plan also aims to use a “threshold approach”, meaning that schemes that have the delivery of at least 35% affordable housing will automatically be placed on a “fast track route”. These schemes, according to the Mayor, will be met with the utmost scrutiny to ensure that the maximum possible amount of affordable housing will be provided and that at least 10% of them will hold the highest level of accessibility possible.
Challenges for housing developers
Ben Norton, Planning Director of Norton Taylor Nunn, has said that
“the new London Plan offers challenges to developers, with a requirement for half of all new homes to be affordable housing. However, it also offers opportunities, with big increases in the housing targets councils must achieve.”
Housing developers will be seeking to build these new properties for London over the next coming years; according to Steve Barton (Chair of the Spatial Planning Network), the new 2021 Plan and its changes made prior to publishing will not “reduce the number of homes” built, as the previous estimation of 65,000 homes was made under “flawed methodology” that didn’t reflect the constraints of labour and materials on housebuilders, as well as market absorption rates.
One of the main concerns for housing developers, however, is that Sadiq Khan’s plan may result in London being unable to meet its own housing needs. Ben Norton of Norton Taylor Nunn takes up the theme. “The new plan has risks. It could make it harder to deliver affordable and suitable homes – especially in outer London. It would be helpful if the duty to co-operate were extended to the London Plan, so that authorities in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex could help to take up the unmet need.”
The lack of structure for co-operation and joint working may prove to be detrimental to housing development. Due to the unwillingness of both the Mayor and the Government to have an open conversation with the home counties about the green belt around London, some professionals in the development industry are concerned that an opportunity to allow extra housing to aid London’s goal is being overlooked.
Benefits for Housing Developers
The good news is that, with the new Plan pushing for an increase in properties to meet the target of London’s housing crisis, the demand for housing development services has increased, with an additional need for efficient planning consultancy as well.
Last year, Norton Taylor Nunn secured planning permission for clients across London, with developments in, Earls Court, Ilford, Kensington, Kilburn, Tottenham, Wembley and Woodford Green, , expected to deliver at least 300apartments in the London area. In February 2021, the City of London Corporation approved a new 38-storey development, the third to receive permission in the Square Mile this year. Housing developers have ensured that “sustainability remains at the core of the scheme” and they’ve risen to the challenges left by the pandemic by creating adaptable office spaces to accommodate for the new ways of working.
London’s 2021 Plan requires plan makers to identify a “specific, deliverable and developable” range of new residential properties that will meet Khan’s goals. The Plan not only calls for 52,000 new residential properties per year but also 47 new opportunity areas, 55 strategic industrial locations, 27 designated strategic views, a 400m exclusion zone for hot food takeaways near school areas and 43 safeguarded wharves.
An example of a recent development plan is the additional amenities that are to be added near Battersea station, which will include “2000-capacity events space” and more “cafes and restaurants”. The development, aiming to be completed and open by autumn 2021, is considered to be London’s third-largest retail destination on three levels.
This extensive list of needs provides both house developers and planning consultants with new opportunities to make a considerable profit and, for consultants in particular, increase their clientele. The Plan also requires an increase in urban greening in order to tackle London’s climate emergency and the protection/development of important, historical landmarks that contribute to London’s cultural heritage: this should prove to be a welcoming challenge for house developers in the city.
Work with a London planning consultant
As the London development and planning regulations get more complex and demanding, it is important to seek professional advice, just like if you’d contact a mortgage broker or property investment company. Working with town planning consultants will help you navigate through the process of working with the local planning authorities to ensure you don’t fall foul of these increasingly intricate development rules.
Whether it’s securing planning applications or unlocking the potential of your land through Strategic Land Development, working with town planning consultants, such as Norton Taylor Nunn, is going to ensure your project follows the London Plan and meets the requirements of the local authority in the district where your project is going to take place. To learn more about how a town planning consultant can help you get your London project off the ground, visit Norton Taylor Nunn’s website.