“Mayor refuses plans with ‘unacceptable’ levels of affordable housing”

Of course it’s not in the Tory South West but in Labour London!

“City Hall’s new viability experts scrutinise affordable housing offer

Stance signals Sadiq’s firm approach on affordable housing

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today rejected plans which would have lowered the proportion of affordable housing on the site of the former New Scotland Yard building, as his tougher approach to tackling the capital’s housing crisis starts to take effect.

The site at 8-10 Broadway in Westminster was sold by the previous Mayor who then allowed planning permission to be granted for a development offering a £10m payment and only 10 affordable homes – just four per cent of all units – on 27 April 2016, days before the Mayoral election. The site was home to the Met Police for half a century until the force relocated earlier this year.

The developer, BL Developments, then sought to increase the total number of homes by 27, from 268 to 295, with no increase in the number of affordable units or payment in lieu, meaning the level of affordable housing fell further still to only three per cent.

Shortly after becoming Mayor, Sadiq instructed City Hall’s planners to recruit a team of viability experts to scrutinise the level of affordable housing in all planning applications referred to him. The first time City Hall has had this in house expertise. Scrutiny of the application to increase the number of homes at 8-10 Broadway found its offer of no extra affordable homes nor any payment in lieu would mean it failed to deliver the maximum amount of affordable housing viable.

Sadiq’s decision comes just a few weeks after he strongly criticised Wandsworth Council for allowing the developers of Battersea Power Station to slash the amount of affordable housing by 40 per cent, from 636 homes to just 386 – or only nine per cent of the 4,239 homes across the scheme. The Mayor had no formal power to intervene under current planning regulations, but wrote to the Council to object to the decision in the strongest terms.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “A shortage of affordable homes is at the heart of the housing crisis in our city. The scheme put forward for this site is simply unacceptable: it fails to provide the maximum amount of affordable housing that could be delivered on this landmark site, and follows a previous application in which the affordable housing provision agreed by the previous Mayor was already appallingly low. It beggars belief that the initial application was approved under the previous Mayor with a paltry four per cent affordable housing, just days before the Mayoral election.

“This is a site which has only recently been transferred from public ownership and sits within one of the most expensive areas of the country. Having carefully considered the evidence available to me, I have decided to refuse permission for this amended application. …”