The housing crisis is Londoners’ number one issue and London boroughs have a commitment to building the homes that Londoners need to address it. London Councils recognises the government’s ambitions in this Bill to get more people on to the housing ladder. However, our test of any legislation remains: does it cut the gap between supply and demand?
This new briefing focuses on two issues for debate in the Bill debate tomorrow: starter homes and planning. It also includes comments to specific amendments on these two topics that we support or oppose.
London boroughs need to be assured there will be flexibility within regulations to allow councils to marry any new starter home statutory obligations with their responsibility to shape the supply of a wider spectrum of housing products to meet local needs. It is also crucial that the Secretary of State takes account of assessed local housing needs before overriding a particular local policy document on the basis that it is incompatible with starter home delivery.
Allowing local authorities to set their own planning fee schedules to a level that would allow the cost of processing planning applications to be recouped would better fund under-resourced planning departments and speed up the development process. We believe that the government should also publish more details on how the mayor’s new intervention powers in Clause 108 may be exercised in practice, and allow for active consultation with the boroughs about this.