London Mayor over rules council to double affordable homes in new development

The Mayor of London is working towards more affordable housing being built in London and his latest step is to intervene to double the number that will be available in one of the city’s major developments.

Barnet Council refused permission for the development on the former National Institute for Medical Research site in Mill Hill in February this year, against the advice of its own planning officers.

Sadiq Khan, has stepped in an approved the residential development with double the level of affordable homes and to include homes at social rent levels.

When the Mayor first saw the plans in December last year, they included just 20% affordable housing, some 92 homes, all of which were for shared ownership. Earlier this year he ‘called in’ the planning application and has now secured 40% affordable housing on the site.

There will be 185 affordable homes, including 131 for shared ownership and 54 at social rent levels. He also ensured 119 trees which would have been felled across the site will now be retained and an additional 91 new trees planted. The development will also see a number of sports pitches previously in private hands transferred to the local council for community use.

‘Delivering more of the genuinely affordable homes Londoners need is one of my top priorities as Mayor and I will use all the tools at my disposable to do so. This development offers a significant number of high-quality homes which will be available through shared ownership, to help people struggling to buy a home on the open market,’ said Khan.

‘I have also been able to secure new homes at social rent levels within the development, which is key to helping Londoners on low incomes and to making sure we build a mixed community here,’ he explained.

‘I am also delighted my planners have saved more than 100 trees from removal as well as increased the number of new trees planted, all of which will be enjoyed by the future residents in this new development for years to come,’ he added.

Since he took office, the Mayor has implemented a tough new approach to housing delivery. In the first few months he recruited a team of experts to scrutinise developers’ use of viability studies as a way of cutting numbers of affordable homes.

Earlier this year, he published his Affordable Housing and Viability SPG, which offers a surer, quicker route through the planning process for developments with least 35% affordable housing.

The new approach has already had an impact. In September, for example, Khan rejected amendments to plans to redevelop the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, which would have lowered the overall proportion of affordable homes.

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