Thursday, 18 September 2014

Boris land plan to deliver 32,000 homes

London mayor Boris Johnson is looking to build more than 32,000 affordable homes on land owned by the Greater London Authority.

At a meeting with key figures from the London housing sector this morning, Mr Johnson is proposing a scheme where under-used GLA land would be handed over to developers to bolster housing stock.

The GLA would be a shareholder in the developments, and any profits would be reinvested in building more affordable homes in London.

The mayor has commissioned an audit of land owned by GLA bodies including Transport for London, the London Development Agency, and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, to identify potential sites.

The initiative is designed to show how innovative approaches to house building can keep development moving in the face of public sector spending cuts. It is intended to continue the supply of homes after 2011, when the current spending round ends.

Mr Johnson said: ‘We’re already on track to deliver 50,000 affordable homes which will benefit thousands of Londoners but this success cannot be an excuse to take our foot off the pedal. We have to set our sights to the future and start working now to deliver the next 50,000 and the 50,000 after that.

‘The GLA is sitting on hundreds of potential housing sites that could be used to build more than 32,000 new homes and I know we’re not alone. London’s councils, private institutions and the Homes and Communities Agency can all do the same but the cost and red tape involved is suffocating.’

The mayor will use the results of the meeting today to set out a submission for the next government on what is needed to continue housing development in London with limited public resources.

Readers' comments (8)

  • Joe Halewood

    So to solve the shortage of (social housing) supply you sell off all the available land?

    And use the proceeds to ....er...

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  • Makes sense to me. What is the confusion?

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  • Joe Halewood

    So the land that is avalaible is being used for private developments the proceeds of which will build new social / affordable housing where exactly??

    Just as Greater London needs hundreds of thousands of new social housing units the Mayor of London sells off surplus land to...er....private developers for private dwellings.

    Still confused? Where is the land to be use for social / affordable housing?

    Boris Johnson has clearly given priority to private dwellings over social ones using his position to make party political policy rather than in the best interests of Londoners. Is this the same Boris that decided last week that a 68 storey office / hotel / private homes development was "in the best interests of London as a whole" despite it involving demolishing a Grade 2 building? Yes it is - and this is rank hypocrisy.

    Rank hypocrisy then in go agianst 'localism' and rank hypocrisy is using the "best interests" of London when it suits .... and beggar thy (tenant) neighbour as well!

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  • The confusion is that in order to build significant amounts of social housing to address years of neglect, the key to that is having the land in the first place, the HCA will not allow RSL's to factor the land cost into the overall grant rate. What Boris appears to be saying, which will be music in the ears of Mr Bovis and Mr Wimpey is that we'll sell this land for housing, and planning guidelines will dictate how much affordable and social comes with it.

    My viewpoint is somewhere in the middle, you have to have tenure diversity, else you end up with sink estates, but if you leave it to the "sytem" to meet your needs, you'll be given endless 2 bedroom apartments by greedy developers who will win on appeal and the desperately needed family accommodation will be nowehere to be seen.

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  • Joe Halewood

    So where is the land to build affordable homes?

    Confusion over i trust??

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  • Joe Halewood

    Mono tenure does not lead to sink estates as an inevitability. Surely such projects as the eldonian Village in Liverpool disproved that years ago. Not only were tenants fully involved in the design etc as has been well documented - The immediate areas around it and bordering this mono-tenure social housing 'estate' have become very popular with privately owned and private rented sector.

    Just thought id mention that sometimes social housing developers do get it right and then attract owner occupiers into the area - Yes the larger area is thus mixed tenure but (a) before social housing was there it was rundown factories, and (b) it is social housing mon tenure that has led and driven this revival.

    So Boris - and as we know you love Liverpool (!!!!) - why not use this example and build the majority social housing developments on this land?

    Wow i must be on the naive and idealistic pills!

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  • Joe is absolutely right. To listen to Johnson, you'd think London was just a huge empty site awaiting development. In fact, one of the roots of London's housing problem is acute land shortage. He asserts the GLA "is sitting on hundreds of potential housing sites" but is only now commissioning the audit which will tell him if this is true or not.

    No doubt there are sites here and there which the GLA could and should release for housing, but whether they will run into the "hundreds" claimed is, to put it mildly, uncertain. They certainly won't spring into existence as a result of Boris's floppy-manic hyperbole and wishful thinking.

    Should the auditors report back that, say, they've only been able to identify 53 sites and they're mostly quite small, will they suffer the same fate as Professor Nutt?

    I don't agree with Harry that "you have to have tenure diversity, else you end up with sink estates". Thanks to decades of right to buy, the places dubbed "sink estates", mainly by journalists and other people who don't live on them, already have very substantial tenure diversity, together with the disunity, conflicting aims and other problems it causes. These conflicts are usually cordial, but many worthwhile improvements cannot be fought for because the long tenants (aka "leaseholders" -as if we weren't all leaseholders) couldn't afford their apportionment of the cost.

    The only areas I can think of which lack tenure diversity are the outer London and suburban swathes of owner-occupation. Does that make places like North Harrow "sink estates"?

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  • I think to use London examples is far from being typical as a whole, and the fact that only one other estate is immediately offered as a good example, in my opinion proves my (admittedly simplistic) point. London boroughs have such desperate housing need it almost becomes the case that Hobson's choice effectively forces people to live cheek by jowl and therefore you get employed people alongside long term unemployed and all other socio economic classes. Extrapolate that to most other parts of the country and people have more housing choice and young couples/families on even modest wages often find private rented solutions where they choose. If offered a property on a monotenure estate, often with it's associated problems, they would simply refuse. It is in that context I am of the opinion that mono tenure brings sink estates as often only the most desperate, or those that choose to exploit the many issues on such estates choose to live.

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