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REVEALED: Khan cuts housing targets for two-thirds of boroughs

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Two thirds of London boroughs have been set lower housing targets by mayor Sadiq Khan’s plan than those recently announced by the government, LGC analysis reveals.

Compared to the government’s estimates the draft London Plan, published by City Hall today, reduces the number of homes to be built in London each year by almost 7,500 – or about 10% - to 65,000 new homes a year. In total, LGC’s analysis shows targets for 22 boroughs have been reduced, while 11 have increased. 

LGC reported in September how the government’s standardised methodology for housing need had estimated London boroughs would need to build an extra 31,000 new homes each year, on top of the 41,000 target boroughs had been working towards.

At the time, London Councils’ housing spokesman Sir Steve Bullock (Lab) said “the numbers just don’t stack up” as councils did not have the land to meet those targets.

Difference between London plan annual housing target and government estimate of need
Local AuthorityPercentage change
Hillingdon 161%
Croydon 109%
Hounslow 90%
Haringey 71%
Hammersmith & Fulham 68%
City of London 22%
Ealing 15%
Barking & Dagenham 8%
Havering 3%
Brent  2%
Newham 0%
Greenwich -3%
Wandsworth -4%
Lambeth -5%
Kingston Upon Thames -11%
Merton -16%
Southwark -17%
Barnet -24%
Waltham Forest -26%
Bexley -28%
Tower Hamlets -28%
Harrow -29%
Camden -31%
Westminster -32%
Lewisham -33%
Redbridge -34%
Kensington & Chelsea -41%
Enfield -44%
Bromley -44%
Sutton -47%
Richmond Upon Thames -53%
Hackney -59%
Islington -70%

The biggest change between the government’s estimate and the London plan’s target is in Hillingdon. The borough is expected to build 1,553 homes a year instead of 595. However, Hillingdon LBC has already been planning for about 3,000 homes a year based on its local assessment of housing need.

Croydon LBC is another to have seen its target more than doubled – from 1,414 to 2,949. But again that is less than what the council had previously been planning per year – it’s last local assessment of housing need had an annual target of building 3,854 homes per year.

At the other end of the scale the councils which have seen the biggest reductions in their annual estimates are Islington LBC and Hackney LBC – down from 2,583 new homes per year to 775, and 3,251 to 1,330 respectively.

Both targets are significantly down on both boroughs’ current assessments of local need which are 1,150 homes per year in Islington and 1,758 in Hackney.

The draft plan, the strategic planning document for the capital, also includes Mr Khan’s manifesto commitment of making sure 50% of all new homes are affordable – something deputy mayor for housing James Murray (Lab) told LGC, in July 2016, would “take time” to implement.

It stresses councils should focus on approving applications for homes on sites near town centres and good public transport, while the mayor has reaffirmed his commitment to protect London’s green belt.

While developers will be expected to “maximise housing density” on sites, Mr Khan has placed importance on good quality design. The plan says the mayor “expects councils to refuse any applications that come forward with homes that do not meet his new standards”.

The plan also includes targets for building on small sites – typically those between one and 25 homes. The mayor believes there is capacity to build 24,500 homes a year on small sites.

Mr Khan said it is “vital we properly plan for growth with new affordable homes in every area” given projections London’s population will increase by 70,000 every year reaching 10.8 million people in 2041.

Sir Steve said “the sheer scale of the housing crisis in London is unparalleled” but welcomed Mr Khan’s plan.

While the draft London plan was launched on Wednesday, the three month consultation will not officially open until Friday.

A DCLG spokesman said its methodology is the “starting point” for agreeing housing targets for London, and elsewhere, and added the department is “working closely” with Mr Khan and the boroughs to “identify the opportunities to deliver a step change in housing supply”.

*This story was updated on 30 November to include a comment from the DCLG. 

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