Boris Johnson is to be granted “substantial powers” to overcome planning hurdles delaying the building of new homes in the capital.
In addition, the Government will provide extra funding to allow the Mayor to double the number of ‘housing zones’ in the capital.
The zones work by removing “unnecessary” planning restrictions in specific parcels of brownfield land earmarked for development by local authorities who then partner with a developer to build new homes.
Last November the Mayor identified 10 potential sites across London but this number is set to double after central government agreed to provide an extra £200m in funding to City Hall which will match that sum from its existing budgets.
In addition, the Mayor will be granted to the power to make Mayoral Development Orders which will remove planning obstacles and ensure developments “progress as quickly as possible”.
The extra funding and new powers were announced on Friday by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne as he and the Mayor visited a prospective new zone in Enfield.
Mr Osborne said: “The new housing zones will be a shot in the arm for house building in London, creating tens of thousands of new homes for hardworking families across the capital”.
Mayor Johnson added: “Housing is the biggest challenge facing London’s economic development and these new £400 million housing zones will turbo boost housing supply across the capital.
“This major regeneration will transform communities and provide up to 50,000 much needed homes. They will support 250,000 Londoners into low cost home ownership over the next decade. ”
Today’s announcement received a cautious welcome from Labour’s housing spokesman on the London Assembly.
Tom Copley AM said: “As ever the devil will be in the detail, but the ideas announced today look interesting and we welcome anything that will increase the supply of housing. We need to ensure there are enough genuinely affordable homes that are good quality as part of this scheme, and this must not be compromised if planning regulations are relaxed.”
However Mr Copley accused the Mayor of “only building a third of the homes London needs to keep pace with our growing city” during his six years in office.
Stephen Knight, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly housing spokesperson, commented: “In his first term between 2008 and 2012 just 5,225 homes were built on GLA family land despite the Mayor’s 2008 manifesto claiming that 39,000 homes could be built on surplus London Development Agency (LDA) and Transport for London land.
“In April 2012 the Mayor became one of the largest public sector landowners in London, inheriting over 600 hectares of land from the former Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) for London, and the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTDGC). At the same time just 573 homes were built on GLA land in 2012/13.”
“When it comes to housing in London it is actions by the Mayor, not words that matter.”