Consultation Response: Shelter response to Mayor of London SPG

By: Robin White
Published: March 2017

Shelter response to Mayor of London's SPG

Our hope is for a planning system where there is a shared vision of good development for London; bringing together the Mayor, boroughs, developers and local communities as far as is possible.

London’s housing market is not currently meeting Londoners’ needs. The catastrophic rise in house prices and the unsustainable cost of renting means that for many the prospect of owning a home is unrealistic without help from the Bank of Mum and Dad. In addition, more and more families are forced to live in poor conditions, lack long term security and face a higher risk of homelessness. Tens of thousands of Londoners are stuck in temporary accommodation because of the acute shortage of social housing.

The most recent official assessment identified a need for 50,000 homes to be built in London per year to meet the current shortage. Around half of these need to be in affordable housing tenures, with the majority of these at Social Rents. However, in 2014/15 the total net housing additions stood at just 28,191, with a worryingly low number of completions (3,000) at Social Rents.

Much of the reason for this situation lies in the failure to build enough genuinely affordable homes over a sustained period. This is not the fault of the planning system alone, but a mix of failures in the planning system, government policy, the land market and the speculative housebuilding system. But aspects of London’s approach to planning have also failed to prioritise the provision of affordable homes sufficiently over many decades.

In this context, Shelter believes that the Mayor’s new Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) provides some much needed clarity for developers and local planning authorities, and provides some good groundwork for addressing some of the key challenges contributing to London’s housing shortage.