With London’s population expected to increase by 70,000 every year, reaching 10.8 million in 2041, it is increasingly important that effective plans for growth and affordability are in place.
To meet this need, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has substantially changed the Capital’s planning rules to pave the way for higher density housing. He described constraints in the London Plan as being outdated and unduly rigid.
In an attempt to increase the number of homes being built he has removed the restriction that required planners to consider the impact on density. He says that plans that fail to maximise housing density should be refused.
To reduce the need for parking spaces, he wants to increase development in areas near town centres and transport hubs. He has detailed a series of new growth corridors to encourage development of jobs and homes around new infrastructure projects. These include Crossrail 2, Thames Estuary, Bakerloo line extension, Central London, Elizabeth Line East, Heathrow, Elizabeth Line West, Trams Triangle/London-Gatwick-Brighton mainline and HS2.
However, the new policy also emphasises the need for good design and the maintenance of minimum space standards. To present a free-for-all, the policy will be strengthened in these respects.
He also wants a substantial increase in the proportion of affordable homes being built. This will be achieved by building on public land and via the planning process. For example, applications that contain a sufficient proportion of affordable homes will be fast-tracked through the planning process.
Another measure to increase house building is to make use of London’s many smaller sites. Such sites will typically have space for one to twenty five homes. Khan estimates that 24,000 homes per year could be built on smaller sites.
In a move reminiscent of past planning strategies he wants to protect industrial land by interweaving industrial and residential areas. More efficient use of industrial land will also be encouraged.
Daniel Margott, London's Land Director for LSL Land & New Homes commented "I welcome the Mayor’s positive stance on future development, in particular the fast track of policy compliant planning applications. Anything that speeds up the frustratingly slow planning process should be applauded. A word of caution though, good development needs to be sustainable, not just high density."