RPS and London First Housing Seminar

20.09.18

The RPS London Planning Team held a breakfast briefing attended by some of London’s major residential developers and investors in relation to delivering London’s housing needs in the next 10 years. Leading the discussion was Mairead Carroll, Programme Director for Housing at London First and Sarah Bevan, Programme Director for Housing at London First.

The briefing was timely given the Prime Minister’s announcement on the same day that housing associations, councils and other organisations will be able to bid for £2billion additional funding for new social housing projects starting from 2022.

The draft new London Plan, through its London-wide Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) has identified need for 66,000 additional homes per year for the next 10 years. To achieve these housing targets the overall average rate of housing delivery on both large and small sites will need to approximately double compared to current average completion rates.

The briefing discussed how likely it was that the draft London Plan’s housing targets will actually be delivered given the significant political differences between the Mayor for London and some of the inner London Boroughs and most of outer, Conservative controlled, London Boroughs.

Discussion was also held as to whether the draft London Plan’s housing led regeneration developments through the London plan’s 50 or so “Opportunity Areas” - (for example, at the former Olympic Park - 39,000 homes - and at the Royal Docks - 30,000 homes) - will actually be delivered in the next 10 years given the complexities of site assembly, site specific environmental remediation requirements, and the provision of necessary major new infrastructure - and so whether the Plan was over reliant on the delivery of small scale sites to meet London’s housing needs.

It was also debated whether London’s housing needs would also have to be partly met outside London given that the draft London Plan does not propose any changes to London’s Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land boundaries.

Design issues such as “densification and “high rise” and room sizes within new residential developments were discussed. Of note was that the delivery of London’s housing needs within the Opportunity Areas was seen to be too reliant on joint partnerships between the major public sector landowners – such as Transport for London (TfL),NHS Trusts and most importantly the London Boroughs - working with Registered Social Landlords (RSL’s) and private sector open market sale/rent housebuilders - set against the wider context of the slowdown of London’s residential market, concerns of construction material and labour shortages and Brexit uncertainties.

For further information about our London residential briefing and how RPS might be able to help you deliver your proposed housing development in London please contact your normal RPS contact or Mike Straw.