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MAYOR URGES HIGHER DENSITY HOUSING IN LONDON

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London mayor Ken Livingstone has launched a new report on how high density housing can help solve London's housing ...
London mayor Ken Livingstone has launched a new report on how high density housing can help solve London's housing crisis and meet the need for more affordable homes for key workers.

The London Housing Federation (LHF) report Capital Gains: Making high density housing work in London will provide guidance to housing associations and housebuilders on delivering the targets in the mayor's draft London Plan launched last month, which tackles the need to accommodate an extra 700,000 people within the capital's boundaries by 2016.

Mr Livingstone said:

'London has been developed as a relatively low density city and we must build in future at higher density - not just to increase housing supply and make best use of urban land- but to secure the benefits from higher density, high quality vibrant urban development. This is where higher density can help make a difference - by realising greater development value which can be used to create better quality design, higher quality materials and landscaping, and important planning obligations, particularly affordable housing.'

'I am not talking about high-rise towers - although there will be some in prominent places near excellent public transport. I am speaking about higher density family housing which is planned in current residential developments I have recently visited at Imperial Wharf and Kensal Green.'

The mayor gave examples of a number of exciting schemes for mixed use higher density development that were currently under discussion, including the Ilford Town Centre scheme with potential for 5,500 new homes; Stratford City with 3-5,000 homes, and Greenwich Peninsular with 7,000 homes.

The mayor also referred to a new study carried out by Tesco, in co-operation with the mayor and the Housing Corporation, which had found the potential to build thousands of additional homes at supermarket sites.

He said:

'Many of these developments would be more suitable for key workers than families. But building homes on retail sites offers more than just the opportunity to gain more housing. It also presents an opportunity to re-integrate sites back into the urban grain - sites which in many cases are not just wasteful of space but are also a visual blot on the cityscape. '

The mayor also reaffirmed his commitment to a target of 50% of all new homes in London being affordable and said:

'My support for higher densities means that developers and housebuilders can extract even more value from land and so provide more affordable housing. There is a broadening consensus amongst all stakeholders in support of the policy approach and mechanisms for delivery set out in the London Plan.'

The mayor's draft London Plan calls on boroughs to provide at least 23,000 homes each year without encroaching on London's precious Green Belt and within existing boundaries. The mayor has also set a strategic target that 50% of all new dwellings in London should be affordable.

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