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Mayor of London urged to speed up housebuilding process

The mayor of London’s plan to build an additional 50,000 affordable homes across the capital’s 33 local authority districts over the next four years has been broadly welcomed, but he is being urged to speed up the housebuilding process in order to help alleviate the growing housing crisis in the city.

Sadiq Khan last week announced a £1.7bn deal with councils and housing associations to start developing an extra 50,000 affordable homes.

The mayor’s pledge to deliver more new properties follows on from his first call for bids for the record £3.15bn affordable homes fund announced by the government last year.

Khan has vowed to build 90,000 new affordable homes by 2020/21 and last week’s announcement helps put him on course to deliver that.

City Hall said the figure is almost treble the 18,000 homes secured by former mayor Boris Johnson in his final call for bids.

But some industry commentators remain concerned over the speed at which the planning process is moving. 

Whilst welcoming the announcement and applauding the GLA’s determination to implement the London Plan, Sebastian Whitton, director at Regenerate London plc, part of the Affinity group of companies, said: “High levels of immigration and continuing population growth mean the situation is worsening by the day.”

He continued: “We remain deeply concerned over the speed at which the planning process is moving in London and are sceptical whether these ambitious targets will ever be achieved.

“London’s boroughs must look to move more efficiently in granting consents and face the housing crisis head on. Many are sitting on perfectly suitable sites, occupied by under-utilised or abandoned buildings, but few have the capability to develop these sites. 

“The borough councils must adopt a more commercial stance and demonstrate that they really are willing and committed to tackling London’s housing crisis. For many, working in partnership with commercial entities is the only feasible option.”

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