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London Mayor Sets 35% Affordable Homes Target In New Planning Guidance

Jennifer Chappell, Senior Associate at Bircham Dyson Bell LLP, comments

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has recently announced a new target of 35% for affordable housing included in new housing schemes by private developers. In return, housebuilders that meet the target will be offered a fast-track planning route.

The quotas were revealed at the end of November 2016 in Supplementary Planning Guidance which City Hall intend to use to help solve the problem of London’s housing crisis. Such planning guidance is often issued by the Mayor of London where urgent policy is needed to help solve an emerging problem or when levels of detail on planning are not sufficiently covered in existing policy.

Under the guidance issued last month, private developers that are able to offer 35% affordable housing in a development will
be exempted from having to reveal the profitability of their scheme in a ‘viability assessment’. Developers that meet with the 35% quota will have planning waived through without the need to submit a document showing the viability of a scheme.

An important part of any planning application is a ‘viability assessment’ that shows the costs and revenues of a project, and how much affordable housing can be provided whilst still producing profit. These statements can often be controversial and lead to disputes between the local planning authority and the developer.

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