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Targets and incentives – a new approach to housebuilding in the capital

London First has published a new report: Carrots and Sticks: A targets and incentives approach to getting more homes built in London, laying out new measures that could help solve the capital’s housing crisis.

Co-authored with planning consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners, the report shows that only 18 out of 33 London boroughs met or exceeded their annual targets between 2010 and 2013, dropping to only 12 out of 33 boroughs between 2003 and 2013.

While we recognise that increasing housebuilding is a complex issue and that many boroughs are proactively seeking to facilitate more development, the research concludes that London’s housing needs have become so acute that new incentives are needed to drive greater levels of delivery.

It calls for:

  • The Mayor to have a discretionary power to determine all planning applications for 50 homes or more in a borough for a set period of time if, over a three year period, the borough fails to reach its annual averaged housebuilding target and cannot demonstrate it is proactively trying to get more homes built.
  • A new financial incentive – called the London Housing Delivery Bonus – to encourage boroughs to accommodate more new homes in their area. Boroughs which get close to, meet or exceed their housebuilding target by the biggest margin would get the greatest reward. This reward would come on top of the current New Homes Bonus, which the report says has largely failed to influence councils’ behaviour or plans.

London First is campaigning for a step change in housebuilding in London, doubling output to 50,000 new homes a year. The ideas contained in our latest report is just one strand of multiple actions that must be taken to build more homes. Our previous work on housing includes research on the green belt in London; how to better use surplus public land for housing; and looking at how London’s housing shortage is threatening the capital’s competitiveness.

If you would like any further information on this work, please contact Jonathan Seager: jseager@londonfirst.co.uk

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