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Fast track planning process for schemes offering more affordable housing.

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Development schemes offering a minimum of 35% affordable housing will be fast tracked through the planning process under plans unveiled by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan to boost levels of affordable homes in the capital.

Schemes which don’t meet that threshold will be required to submit ‘detailed viability information’ to the Greater London Authority (GLA) to be scrutinised fully.

The Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG), published last week by the Mayor, said applicants will not be required to submit viability information at the application stage and will only be reviewed if ‘an agreed level of progress on implementation’ has not been achieved within two years of consent being granted ‘or as agreed with the local planning authority’.

It states: ‘Comprehensive early and late stage review mechanisms will be applied to schemes that do not meet the threshold or require public subsidy to do so.’

Situations where the mayor can direct a planning refusal are also laid out and include where he considers that opportunities for affordable housing may have been missed because of unsatisfactory provision or insufficient scrutiny of viability information.

The SPG says the mayor ‘should be consulted where a scheme amendment is proposed that changes the level of affordable housing from that which was secured through the original planning permission’.

The report also:

  • Provides detailed guidance on viability assessments, aiming to establish a “standardised” approach.
  • Says that, where a scheme meets the 35 per cent affordable housing threshold it may be “appropriate to explore the potential to increase densities on a caseby-case basis to enable the delivery of additional affordable homes where this meets exemplary design standards”.
  • Says that the percentage of affordable housing in a scheme “should be measured by habitable rooms to ensure that a range of sizes of affordable homes can be delivered, including family sized homes, taking account of local mix policies and having regard to site specific circumstances.”

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