London Councils has responded to the government’s announcement on building new homes and the Secretary of State’s speech on reforming the planning system and regenerating urban areas.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Regeneration, Housing & Planning, said:
“Boroughs are ready and willing to help deliver the homes our communities need, but this requires more local powers and resources for housebuilding.
“Despite massive challenges, boroughs are working hard to accelerate housebuilding and have made solid progress in recent years. London saw more council-built homes started in 2022 than any year since the 1970s.
“There are at least 143,000 potential new homes we could begin building immediately in London if the funding was in place, and we would welcome the prospect of enhanced government support for housing development and regeneration. We are calling for reform of Right to Buy receipts, increased grant allocations, and investment in new infrastructure so that we can truly turbocharge affordable housebuilding.
“The chronic shortage of affordable housing is the critical factor behind London’s skyrocketing homelessness figures. The situation is utterly unsustainable. There are 166,000 homeless Londoners living in temporary accommodation, including on average at least one homeless child in every London classroom.
“The focus must be on boosting delivery of affordable, high-quality homes. The government’s pledge to expand permitted development rights does not guarantee this will happen – in fact it brings serious risks. Boroughs must retain the ability to ensure housing is built to the right standards, in suitable locations, and with the necessary local infrastructure such as GP surgeries and transport connections.”
Further briefing information:
- London boroughs currently have 301,000 households on waiting lists for social housing. London is the epicentre of the national homelessness crisis and the most recent analysis by London Councils shows homelessness rates in the capital are increasing. The group estimates 166,000 Londoners are homeless and living in temporary accommodation – equivalent to the entire population of some London boroughs, or a city the size of Blackburn and Oxford. This figure includes 81,000 children, meaning one in every 23 children in London is homeless.
- In May, London Councils welcomed data showing an increase in delivery of council-built homes in the capital.
- The government’s decision earlier this year to allow a temporary relaxation of restrictions on how local authorities use the money raised through Right to Buy sales was a move that London Councils had long called for. Boroughs are pushing for these restrictions to be ended permanently, as this will support long-term planning and help ensure every penny raised from council house sales can be reinvested locally in building replacement homes.
- For the first time, all 33 London local authorities have agreed an infrastructure framework with the aim of using infrastructure investment to boost prosperity, reduce inequalities, and help achieve net zero across the capital. Launched in May this year, the framework enables a more united pan-London voice in supporting projects in accessing funding.