London First commment on the Mayor’s Housing StrategyNovember 27, 2013
Jonathan Seager, Head of Housing Policy at London First, says the Mayor of London’s new Housing Strategy, ‘Homes For London’ (launched this week), is good but more radical thinking is needed:
“The overriding aim of the strategy is to increase supply of all types of homes, from affordable housing to premium property, and we absolutely support this. We need to build the homes that make this city a place where people want to live and to come to work – but more radical thinking is needed.
“The Mayor has set a target of building 42,000 homes a year over the next ten years – up from the current target 32,000 – but 42,000 is not enough. There is a huge mismatch between supply and demand – we should be looking at building 50,000-plus more homes every year. The strategy itself acknowledges this when the backlog of housing need is combined with projections for household growth.
“‘Re-zoning’ some sections of London as priority areas for housing is a step forward and is worth pursuing if real incentives are on offer to stimulate house building. But these housing zones will only get us so far – the reality is these zones won’t provide what we really need in terms of volume.”
ON THE “SENSE OF FRUSTRATION” PERMEATING THE STRATEGY:
“Permeating the Strategy is a sense of frustration about what the Mayor might do, had he the power to do so. There is certainly a case to be made that the Mayor should be taking a more forceful approach to housing delivery using his existing powers over housing investment, land and planning but there is also much to be said for the fact that the Mayor is trying to increase house building with one hand tied behind his back. We must therefore ask the question of central government is it now time to devolve the next set of housing powers to the Mayor.”