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Thousands of homes will be built on small sites across London

Friday 16 February 2018

The Mayor’s long-awaited London Plan states that almost 25,000 homes should be built every year on smaller plots adjacent to existing residential and commercial buildings. However, critics immediately branded the plan a “land grab” for every inch of garden in the capital — and claimed the Mayor had “declared war on the suburbs”. For the first time, town halls will be given a numerical target for how many homes to build on small sites every year, ranging from 488 in Kensington & Chelsea to 3,850 in Newham. With London’s population expected to increase by 70,000 every year, reaching 10.8 million in 2041, it’s vital we properly plan for growth with new affordable homes in every area.
Councils will be under pressure to approve applications for sites of between one and 25 homes. This includes converting, extending or rebuilding homes within 800 metres of transport links to create separate dwellings, often in gardens. Tories also said the plan offered no additional protection for the Green Belt, which Mr Khan has vowed to uphold, or stronger support for more “green cover” such as roof gardens and allotments. The proposals represent a more than doubling of the number of homes built on small sites — currently about 10,000 a year — and along with those delivered on larger plots would help reach the Mayor’s overall target of 65,000 a year. It is part of a wider move to remove his predecessor Boris Johnson’s “complicated and meaningless” density limits to boost homes built near town centres and transport hubs. They would instead be decided on a case-by-case basis. The Mayor’s plan does not actively encourage homeowners to sell off parts of their gardens for housing, although that may now happen in some cases. Neighbours will have the usual protections under planning law. However, unless their borough has drawn up strict new design standards, the application could be granted. It would otherwise have to be proven to cause an “unacceptable level of harm” to privacy. A draft plan will now be subject to public consultation and scrutiny by an independent panel, the Government and the London Assembly. It will include the Mayor’s pledge for 50 percent of all new homes built on public land, and 35 percent of those by private developers, to be genuinely affordable.

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