The last week was a busy one for Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, as he made two important announcements in relation to housing. As well as committing substantial funds to deliver housing, Mr Khan has outlined how much-needed new homes will need to be well designed.
The theme of Mr Khan’s keynote speech at the London School of Economics (LSE) was “Good Growth by Design”...
The short-statured politician wasted no time in pointing out that this was a reference to the challenge facing London rather than anything to do with his height… The speech, which was followed by a panel discussion, is available as an online video (as well as on podcast) and is well worth a watch or a listen.
The colourful outline document that was published to accompany the speech stresses how important diversity is to London. To reflect this, Mr Khan has announced 50 new “design advocates” – half of whom are women and a quarter of whom are from BME communities – who will work with local councils to improve the quality of the built environment across the capital.
He accepts that London needs to provide space for 46,000 new jobs and build 50,000 new homes a year just to keep up with demand, as well as building the social infrastructure to support both.
“Good growth” will be the guiding principle for the draft London Plan that will launch in the autumn, and will be supported by the following "six pillars":
- Setting standards
- Applying the standards
- Building capacity
- Supporting diversity
- Commissioning quality
- Championing good growth by design
In the meantime, Mr Khan has been putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to affordable housing – he struck a record £1.7bn deal between City Hall and London’s councils and housing associations to help build an extra 50,000 affordable new homes to rent and buy over the next four years. This will include new homes in all 32 London boroughs as well as the City of London. They will be delivered by 44 housing providers – including large and small housing associations, as well as nine London councils.
All in all, this appears to be good news for YIMBYs (particularly in London) – it’s fantastic that money is being committed to providing affordable homes in each of the London boroughs and we will continue to put pressure on other regions in the UK to do the same. As always though, many of these new homes will require planning permission and it is important to ensure that local communities continue to support well designed new development in their areas.
Please encourage anyone you know who is supportive of new affordable housing to sign up to the regular emails sent out by UK YIMBY and, together, we can make a genuine difference to solving the UK housing crisis.