Secretary of state for housing, communities and local government James Brokenshire has called on the London mayor to revise the capital’s housing strategy in light of the recently published NPPF.

Sadiq Khan

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published its final version of the NPPF last week and Brokenshire has now written to Sadiq Khan telling him to review the draft London Plan, taking on board the planning changes within the NPPF “at the earliest opportunity”.

He also called on the London mayor to do more to encourage housebuilding in the capital. The Mayor’s draft London plan, released in December last year, saw Khan increase the capital’s housebuilding target from 42,000 to 65,000 homes a year but Brokenshire has insisted the number needs to be closer to 100,000 a year. The figure cited in revised planning policy guidelines is 72,000.

Join the housing policy debate at RESI - New housing minister Kit Malthouse confirmed for RESI Convention

Brokenshire said the fact that average house prices in the capital are more than 12 times average earnings is “clearly unacceptable” and required a “step-change in housing delivery”.

Issues raised by Brokenshire included:

  • A number of policy areas in the draft that are inconsistent with national policy, such as your policies allowing development on residential gardens and your policy on car parking.
  • The detail and complexity of the policies within the draft London Plan have the potential to limit accessibility to the planning system and development.
  • The draft plan strays considerably beyond providing a strategic framework.
  • The draft plan does not provide enough information to explain the approach you will take to ensure your targets are delivered, including collaboration with boroughs and neighbouring areas.
  • There are a number of policies in the draft Plan which seek to deal with matters relating to building standards and safety. It is important that there is a consistent approach to setting building standards through the framework of Building Regulations.

James Brokenshire Housing Minister

James Brokenshire has criticised London’s housing policies

In response, City Hall said that London lacked a sufficient affordable housing grant with the capital currently receiving £700m a year, compared with £1.75bn in 2009/2010.

A spokesman for the Mayor said: “Rather than criticising the Mayor’s ambitious plan and plucking numbers out of thin air, ministers should meet with him to discuss the powers and investment London urgently needs.

“With Sadiq as mayor, City Hall started building more genuinely affordable homes — including more social homes — last year than in any since devolution, smashing the record under previous mayors.”

The current draft plan, which stretches to more than 500 pages and is intended to guide the development of London over the next 20 to 25 years.