Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
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Further Government interventions in London housing market

Housing Secretary directs Mayor to conduct a review of London Plan policies.

The Housing Secretary is taking the unusual step of intervening in the London Plan to boost housing delivery in the capital.  

Michael Gove has repeatedly warned the Mayor of London that the London Plan, which sets out how London will deliver homes, is holding back housebuilding in the capital and letting down Londoners.

He yesterday directed the current Mayor of London to conduct a partial review of the London Plan, and asked the Greater London Authority to report back findings in September. This will focus on two specific areas:  

  1. Industrial land: an estimated 6,800 hectares of land is being used for industry in the capital. Of this, 736 hectares, the equivalent of approximately 900 football pitches, could potentially be turned into housing developments, but are stuck in the planning system, and developers have said the current policy is too restrictive.
  2. Opportunity areas: these are 47 areas across London that the Mayor and the Greater London Authority have identified as each typically having the potential to deliver at least 2,500 new homes or 5,000 new jobs (or a combination of the two), but too many have made almost no progress and others appear to have plateaued. The Government has asked the Mayor to ensure the list of areas is sufficiently targeted, consider how other policies in the plan that constrain capacity or delivery might be adjusted, and asked if there is a role for a single planning framework to accelerate housing.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove yesterday said:  

Londoners are being let down by the Mayor’s chronic under delivery of new homes in the capital. We have already taken comprehensive action to reverse this trend - investing billions of pounds to build affordable homes and unlocking brownfield developments as part of our Long-Term Plan for Housing.  

However, that alone will not build the homes we need, which is why I am now directing the Mayor to review aspects of the London Plan and announcing specialist support on planning to help unlock thousands of homes.   

I look forward to continuing to work with the Greater London Authority, councils and the sector so we can get spades in the ground and deliver the homes the capital needs.” 

Minister for London Greg Hands yesterday said:

It is unacceptable that Londoners don’t have access to the homes they need due to persistent under-delivery of home building, which is why we’re directing the Mayor to review London Plan policies.

This action comes on top of millions of pounds in government investment to regenerate estates, unlock major brownfield sites, and build thousands of new homes. But government cannot act in isolation - we need the Greater London Authority to step up and work with us, so we can provide affordable housing for all.

A new ‘super-squad’ of planners, brought in by Government, will use their expertise to work across London to speed up planning decisions. The specialist team will work on complex cases that for too long have been held up in the planning system.  Newham and Greenwich have been prioritised with £500,000 to help with planning applications and unlock over 7,000 homes.   

This follows a number of major Government interventions already in London, where the rate of delivery needs to increase from an average of 37,200 homes each year to 62,300 to meet the targets set out in the London Plan.    

Earlier this year, following an independent review of the London Plan, the Housing Secretary announced a consultation on national planning policy to support brownfield land development. However, these changes alone will not unlock the housing London needs which is why further interventions were made yesterday.   

London is receiving millions of pounds of Government investment to support housing delivery; this year alone it has announced £50 million to regenerate estates in London, £4 million to boost the delivery of homes around Euston and £125 million to unlock three major brownfield sites in London. These interventions will support the delivery of thousands of homes across the capital.


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