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London suburbs set for housing boom as Mayor rips up old planning rules

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Small sites to make stronger contribution to ambitious housing targets while protecting greenbelt

In a move that could set a wave of construction for London’s suburbs, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has relaxed existing planning laws and called on homebuilders to develop sites at higher housing densities to substantially increase capacity in the capital.

In his new draft London Plan – launched today at Barking Riverside – the Mayor has removed outdated constraints and rigid density guidelines to give a significant boost to the number of new and affordable homes given planning permission in the capital.

In his new draft London Plan, Khan has set out how he will ask homebuilders to maximise the use of valuable land in the city – and that means developing sites with more homes on them than existing developments nearby that would have had to follow previous guidelines.

The Mayor’s Plan says proposed development on sites that do not clearly maximise housing density should be refused.

Mayor has introduced new policies on:

  • New growth corridors – 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
  • Fire safety – Mayor has set out how all developments must meet the highest standards of fire safety, minimising the risk of fire spread, including providing a fire evacuation lift to allow means of escape
  • Fracking – Reaffirming his commitment to refuse any potential fracking applications in the capital
  • Pubs and culture – Stronger protection for pubs and support for plans for new public houses in suitable locations
  • Toilet provision – More public toilets must be built and should be suitable for all users
  • Takeaways – Encouraging boroughs to refuse planning applications for new fast food takeaways near schools
  • Green belt and green cover – Reaffirmed his commitment to protect London’s Green Belt and other important open spaces and set out plans to help make more than half of London green by 2050
  • Transport – Planning for developments to increase bike parking, the importance of public transport links, greater electric car provision outside new homes
  • New approach to working with the wider South East – Exploring with willing partners opportunities for additional growth in sustainable locations outside London
  • Tall buildings – Mayor supports tall buildings but these must be in the right places and to high design and safety standards – boroughs must identify where these are suitable in principle

Khan said: “With London’s population expected to increase by 70,000 every year, reaching 10.8 million in 2041, it’s vital we properly plan for growth with new affordable homes in every area of the capital.

“I am using all of the powers at my disposal in my first draft London Plan to tackle the housing crisis head on – removing ineffective constraints on homebuilders so that we can make the most of precious land in the capital to build more homes in areas with the best transport links.

“My London Plan sets out how we are planning for the challenges our great city faces, but crucially focuses on my vision of a London that welcomes growth, celebrates its diversity and ensures every Londoner gets the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of London First, said: “London’s success comes from the people who live and work here and we’ve been failing to build the homes they need for too long. The Mayor’s commitment to tackling our housing crisis is hugely welcome, but the London Plan must now deliver its part.

“By being smart about how and where we build, making better use of land and setting targets that councils can and must hit, the Mayor will help open a door for the countless people priced out of a place to call home.”

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders said: “Making better use of the many existing small sites that are scattered over the capital is essential if we are to build the number of new homes Londoners need. The London Plan’s moves to favour appropriate residential development on small sites is therefore a welcome initiative. It will also boost and strengthen the capacity of small and medium-sized house builders to build more new homes…”

The draft London Plan has been launched today, with a three-month consultation officially starting on Friday.

 



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