Sadiq Khan urged to adopt ‘suburbs strategy’
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Sadiq Khan’s housing policies have been criticised for encouraging overdevelopment in outer London and failing to provide family-sized homes.
A new report authored by Andrew Boff AM urges the Mayor of London to re-think his approach to housing and publish a “suburbs strategy” for outer London’s housing needs.
Specifically, the report says that the Mayor needs to protect back gardens from overdevelopment and re-introduce family-sized homes targets.
Sadiq Khan has been accused of “waging war on the suburbs” after a new report has revealed how his housing and planning policies are failing outer London.
SOS: Saving our Suburbs, authored by London-wide Assembly Member Andrew Boff, says that the Mayor of London urgently needs to alter his housing policies as part of a new “suburbs strategy”.
Boff said that the Mayor’s current housing policies are set to encourage the overdevelopment of outer London and produce a severe lack of family-sized homes. By incentivising the submission of unpopular and inappropriate applications, the new report says that the Mayor’s current approach would fail to attract the local support which is essential to getting new homes built.
The report’s recommendations include:
Halting the overdevelopment of gardens while relaxing the building regulations for brownfield sites. Boff says that the Mayor had made it easier for developers to build small units on back gardens but harder to build family-sized homes on derelict industrial land.
Re-introducing affordable family-sized homes targets. These targets have been removed from the London Housing Strategy by Sadiq Khan.
Bringing back limits on density to ensure that local infrastructure can cope with new developments.
Giving local councils more control over parking standards and supporting boroughs which wish to move away from the Mayor’s push towards ‘car free’ developments. This flexibility could help local councils roll-out initiatives to get carbon emissions down, such as car clubs.
The Mayor’s housing policies have attracted criticism before. Historic England have said that Khan’s Small Sites Policy is a threat to heritage while the London Wildlife Trust has expressed concerns about the loss of back gardens.
Andrew Boff AM, GLA Conservatives Housing Spokesman, commented:
“The distinct local character of each one of London’s suburbs is essential to the lifeblood of our city. We need to embrace the uniqueness of each one of our urban villages and ensure that any new housing development goes with the grain of local areas rather than against.
“Sadiq Khan is waging war on the suburbs; his approach to development rides roughshod over local factors and increasingly treats outer London in the same way as inner London.
“Khan is making it easier to squeeze small housing units into back gardens while preventing family-sized homes from being built on unused industrial land. At the same time, he is failing to set targets for family-sized homes.
“This is a perverse approach which will perpetuate the misery of the 350,000 young people being brought up in overcrowded homes.
“Outer London can make a significant contribution to London’s housing need, but the wrong type of development will not attract public support, meaning that applications will struggle to get approval.
“I want to see the recommendations in this report to form part of a new mayoral suburbs strategy, which aims to deliver the right kind of housing for outer London.
“Ultimately, what is good for London’s suburbs is good for London.”