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GLA sets planning guidelines to encourage affordable homes delivery

Developers will be offered a quicker route through the planning system if they deliver a minimum requirement of 35 per cent affordable housing on their developments, City Hall has said.

London mayor Sadiq Khan revealed the details in new Supplementary Planning Guidance released today, which is aimed at boosting the level of affordable housing across the city.

Under the changes, a developer will no longer be required to go through protracted viability negotiations if it meets a 35 per cent affordable homes requirement.

However, schemes will be subject to review if “an agreed level of progress” in affordable home delivery has not been made within two years of the planning permission being granted.

GLA strategic planning manager Jennifer Peters said the “agreed level of progress” will be decided on a site-to-site basis.

She said: “We want it to be something that can practically be delivered within those two years.

“It will be an onus on both the developer and local authority to make that happen.”

If a developer does not meet the 35 per cent target or its development requires a public subsidy to do so, it will be required to submit detailed viability information.

A ‘review mechanism’ will also be triggered, which could see developers providing a “much higher level of affordable housing”, according to Ms Peters.

Deputy mayor for housing James Murray said: “The threshold is there to discourage developers from undergoing long negotiations about viability and to speed up the amount of affordable housing delivered.”

Within the 35 per cent requirement, 30 per cent will need to be for affordable rent and 30 per cent will be intermediate products such as shared ownership, with the remaining 40 per cent decided by the local authority.

Estate regeneration schemes will be excluded from a viability assessment, as these schemes are expected to provide 35 per cent or more of affordable housing.

The guidance is in place to speed up the delivery of affordable housing while The London Plan is currently being reviewed.

The London Plan will agree on tariffs and thresholds for affordable housing and a consultation draft is expected in 2017.

Mr Murray also outlined how the GLA intends to spend the £3.15bn of government funding revealed by the chancellor last week in the Autumn Statement.

The money is for the delivery of 90,000 homes in London by 2021.

Around 58,500 homes will be a mix of London Living Rent and shared ownership, while 29,000 houses will be allocated for affordable rent.

London Living Rent aims to help households on average incomes save for a deposit by offering below-market rent.

Most of the 90,000 homes will be provided by housing associations on the condition that they will provide a minimum of 50 per cent of affordable housing through their scheme.

A strategic relationship will be established with a small number of major providers, which will deliver 60 per cent or more of affordable homes.

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