Planning, Housing and regeneration report from City Hall, December 2016

We now have the Mayor’s Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) and Funding Guidance changes, after he achieved a record settlement for affordable housing in London from the Government: £3.15bn until 2021.


London Affordable Rent is to be genuinely affordable –around 44% market rent, tied to capped social rents provided by Registered Social Landlords and due to be cut by 1% in line with Council rents. London Living Rent ­ will be  an intermediate rent level  linked to local  average income  and not market rent for the first time – increasing security and the chance of home ownership for the ‘just about managing’.


There will be changes to the discredited ‘viability’ process which many developers have used to frustrate affordable housing:

  • Increased public transparency
  • Offer a ‘streamlined planning process’ – rewarding developers who can offer high affordable housing with lower costs and dampening complaints ‘planning is the problem’.
  • Provide the first ever mechanism against landbanking – land value uplift will be captured and recycled to pay for more affordable housing units should developers delay.


Before the publication of the SPG, Sadiq Khan has achieved 37% affordable housing on average across the applications he has decided compared to  the last year of Boris Johnson’s administration, when the average was 13%.


Such change is urgent and important, because, for example, housing costs leave a quarter of Barnet and Camden children living In poverty.


Last month, I reported on the campaign to raise the impact of the misuse of Airbnb on residential areas.  Airbnb have now agreed to have a 90 day limit on short term lettings, though how effective this will be remains to be seen.


I have also continued to pursue issues relating to the Olympic Stadium, and last month I reported on the very poor deal negotiated by the former Mayor with West Ham which will cost the taxpayer £51 million more than originally admitted.


We followed this up with a Regeneration Committee site visit to the Olympic Park, to meet with the management of the London Legacy Development Corporation and some of their tenants and partners.


At Mayor’s Question Time I again raised the loss of office space in Barnet due to the Government’s ‘permitted development’ rules:


I have taken up the loss of diving facilities at Copthall pool which I see as a betrayal of Olympic legacy. See also my letter to Cllr Cornelius on #Savebarnetdiving.

Following my report last time about the Pentavia site in Mill Hill, I have now submitted formal objections.

I have also objected to the Reviva Composting application In Hertsmere. See also Reviva Composting expansion scheme kicks up a stink.


I am concerned about the impact of the scheme to move Hasmonean Boys’ School to Copthall. I am working on a submission to Barnet Council about it.


Finally, the disappointing news, that the Planning Inspector overruled Camden and local residents’ objections (which I supported) to the proposed underground hotel In Bloomsbury.