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Khan: Battersea decision 'has let Londoners down'

Sadiq Khan has become embroiled in a row with a south-west London borough after saying he was “furious” about the cut in the planned affordable housing at Battersea Power Station.

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In a statement, the mayor of London called the decision by Wandsworth Council’s planning committee to accept the developer’s proposals to reduce affordable housing “wholly unacceptable”.

In plans approved yesterday by the council, the number of affordable homes to be provided on the development was reduced from 636 to 386, meaning that just 9% of the total homes delivered would be affordable.

In the latest plans for the development, Battersea Power Station Development Company argued that the restoration of the station, which is a Grade II listed building, combined with the fall in the pound, meant that its previous commitment on affordable housing was financially unviable. It said that by way of compensation, it would build the 386 affordable homes three years earlier than originally planned.

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The other 250 affordable homes will be subject to an ‘end of scheme review’, meaning the developer will assess its likely profits and decide whether to build them.

Mr Khan said: “If we are serious about tackling London’s housing crisis we need all councils in London to be pushing in the same direction. This decision has let Londoners down.

“As this was a change to planning consent granted under the previous mayor, I have no formal planning powers to stop it. However I have made formal representations to Wandsworth Council urging them to withdraw the decision, and to work with me to secure the absolute maximum amount of affordable housing possible.”

However Richard Field, chair of Wandsworth’s planning committee, was scathing about Mr Khan’s intervention.

He said: “The mayor of London was asked to engage in this decision-making process several weeks ago but remained completely silent until the day before the committee met when we learned he had commented on this matter via social media rather than contact the council.

“Mr Khan of course very recently approved a vast housing development in neighbouring Merton with only 9% affordable housing.”

A spokesperson at Battersea Power Station said:

“Battersea Power Station is determined to deliver 15% affordable homes, equating to 686 homes, and the team is working very hard to make that happen.

“We understand that asking for flexibility on when the affordable homes are delivered across this 15 year project is not straightforward, but our priority is to make good on the trust people have placed in us by starting on the first 386 affordable homes this year, which is three years earlier than the requirement in the original planning consent.

“The restoration of the iconic Power Station, delivery of the new tube line and creation of what is a new town centre supporting 20,000 jobs is a vast and complicated endeavour but we are determined to make this a genuine community and we are clear that includes a genuine mix of housing – affordable and market-priced.”

Update: Battersea Power Station has clarified that, contrary to its original statement, it will be providing 636 affordable homes, not 686.

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