Last edited 16 Dec 2020

Affordable housing and viability SPG

Homes for londoners hale village.jpg

On 17 August 2017, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan published new Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) aimed at raising the bar for affordable housing provision in London.

Affordable Housing and Viability’ illustrates the long-term aim of the Mayor to ensure that half of all new homes are affordable, raising the level from 13% at the point when he took office in 2016.

The SPG provides a practical first step at raising the amount of affordable housing coming through the planning system in advance of the new London Plan in 2019. The Mayor aims to embed the requirement for affordable housing into land values, in addition to making the viability process more consistent and transparent, with robust and well-scrutinised development appraisals.

The SPG requires that at least half of the new homes built on public land in the capital will need to be affordable to be eligible for a new fast-track route through the planning process. Developers of private land will be eligible for the fast-track route if a minimum of 35% affordable housing provision is provided (without public funding).

The SPG goes on to stipulate that developments should get underway within two years of planning permission being granted. There will be greater scrutiny of the plans and the financial modelling behind them if this is not achieved, or if the minimum affordable thresholds are not met.

Greater transparency is to be achieved by publishing the financial details in the application, with the reinvestment of a share in any unexpected profits in more affordable housing.

Sadiq Khan said:

“I’m determined to ensure we don’t have a repeat of what happened at Battersea Power Station … with developers unacceptably reducing the number of affordable homes on site after planning permission was granted. That’s why I’ve written to all councils offering City Hall’s expertise in robustly scrutinising applications to ensure we see the new and genuinely affordable homes built that Londoners desperately need.”

For more information, and to download the SPG, see here.

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