London mayor prompts new affordable housing

30 August 2017

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a string of measures aiming to spur affordable housing in the UK capital.

In July 2017 he agreed a deal with London councils and housing associations to build 50,000 affordable homes for rent and to buy over the next four years, with £1.7 billion invested across all 32 boroughs and the City of London.

In mid-August he laid out stringent new conditions for fast-track planning permission, where at least 50 per cent of new homes built on public land in London would have to be affordable.

Then at the end of August he released the first plot of land acquired by City Hall as part of its affordable housing scheme, a former industrial estate in Walthamstow, East London.

Here, housing association Catalyst will build 330 new homes, along with a creative hub featuring artists’ studios, a new park and a retail space.

“I’m doing all I can to help fix London’s housing crisis,’ said Khan. ‘This site in Walthamstow shows the benefit of City Hall taking a greater role unlocking and bringing forward land for development.”

James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing at City Hall added: “We know that London hasn’t been building nearly the number of new and affordable homes we need for many years. This is just the first example of how we are going to have a more active involvement in getting homes built in London.”

Walthamstow has gained a reputation as a hotspot for young professionals to buy their own homes in recent years, taking over from areas such as Hackney as gentrification has taken hold. The borough is close to the open spaces of Epping Forest and within easy reach of central London through the Victoria Line tube.

Across London, more affordable housing will help to maintain the mix of residents needed for vibrant communities, with workers in service industries able to live closer to their places of employment. And the issues exposed by the Grenfell Tower tragedy, with inadequate provision for lower income residents, may be addressed.

As a collaborative politician who is sensitive to the needs of the private sector, it is cheering to see Sadiq Khan working to keep both public and private partners engaged in solving London’s housing problems.