Khan’s Affordable Housing Threshold Method

Sadiq Khan’s threshold method in providing affordable housing in London has been ruled in favour by a High Court judge.

If a development provides a minimum of 35% affordable housing, this meted will permit them to be accelerated through the planning system.

Towards the end of 2017, the following developers launched a judicial review of the threshold approach.

  • McCarthy & Stone,
  • Churchill Retirement Living,
  • Renaissance Retirement.

At first, they were rejected, however ending up winning the right for a High Court hearing.

It was decided by Mr Justice Ouseley that the policy corresponds with the adopted local plan.

It was said by Ouseley that Khan’s Supplementary Planning Guidance;

“represents a substantive new policy, which should have been subject to an independent examination”.

He continued to say that the guidance is “not consistent” with the London Plan.

The claimants contended that;

“higher build costs for retirement housing makes it harder to provide as much affordable housing as a standard development.”

Despite this, on the basis of the method not discriminating against the elderly, the judge supported Khan.

The deputy mayor for planning, skills and regeneration, Jules Pipe, said:

“Tackling the capital’s housing crisis is the mayor’s top priority and this ruling is an important moment for thousands of Londoners who are desperate for genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy.

“Our guidance sets out a clear approach that makes the planning system in London clearer, quicker and more consistent. I am pleased that the judge has backed this approach, which will help us to turn around years of neglect when it comes to building the homes Londoners so desperately need.”

The group of developers say that their challenges were not on the affordable housing threshold, and the response to the judgement from the mayor’s office is “extremely misleading”

A representative of the developer’s said:

“The judgement shows the extent to which planning policy at the national and local level is not sufficiently supportive of the housing needs of older people.”

It is deemed by the group that Khan’s policy would “exacerbate” the situation by;

“effectively making it economically impossible to bring forward private retirement development in London”.

“Older people are the fastest growing demographic in the capital and the London Plan calls for around 4,000 new retirement housing units to be built each year. However, supply is currently in the low hundreds.”

“If the mayor’s target is to be met, a proper planning and affordable housing policy is required that fully recognises the unique viability model of specialist retirement housing. This was why we brought this case to the court. We need a positive planning policy for London’s elderly population and the mayor now has the opportunity to review his approach. We look forward to working closely with him and his team to agree a resolution and increase much-needed housing options for older Londoners.”

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