Overall, we endorse the vision and ambition for ‘Good Growth’ set out in the new draft London Plan.
London needs to tackle its housing crisis urgently: housing costs, driven at least in part by slow housing delivery, hamper both fairness and prosperity.
But alongside more affordable housing, the city also needs to provide workplaces for a fast-changing economy, a safe and well-designed public realm, and an efficient and green transport system.
With development in the Green Belt ruled out by the Mayor, London must design higher density developments integrated with public transport, using small and large sites across the capital.
A few takeaways from our response
Delivering affordable housing
We support the mayor’s aim of significantly increasing affordable housing levels in London, and the ambitious targets proposed. However, in addition to the policies set out, we also think that the GLA should:
- Take a collaborative approach to delivering affordable housing across London. We believe the GLA should help broker formal borough partnerships in housing delivery, and use its policies, powers and resources to facilitate and encourage collaboration. This could include publishing a best practice guide.
- Incentivise collaborative affordable housing delivery. More flexible or enhanced levels of grant for consortia of local authorities, together with housing associations and private developers could help.
- Integrate transport and development. We endorse a tailored approach to affordable housing in over-station developments and encourage the use of review mechanisms to ensure viability and share value uplifts.
The draft London Plan’s approach to transport capacity, connectivity and safeguarding is on the right track. But there are a number of ways it could be more ambitious:
- Introduce variable parking charges. Boroughs should consider introducing variable charges for non-residential short-stay parking with the aim of achieving 85-90 per cent occupancy.
- Roll out intelligent vehicle charging infrastructure. London’s traffic authorities should do this as part of their kerb space strategies. And they should develop financial mechanisms to spread grid infrastructure costs fairly across each additional charging point.
Collaboration in the Wider South East
Our report Next Door Neighbours: Collaborative working across the London boundary supported intensified joint working. We endorse the Mayor’s ambitions in the draft plan on this, but we think it could go further;
- London and its neighbouring regions should develop a vision for the future. The wider south east needs a shared understanding of the challenges they face in sustainably accommodating growth, and a strategy for joint action, using the London Plan consultation process to frame this understanding.
- The Wider South East Group, along with other key stakeholders, should explore how best they can strengthen the Wider South East strategic partnership as a forum for dialogue and a vehicle for articulating shared interests and a shared vision.