London mayor’s targets ‘getting in way’ of build programme, Andrew Boff warns

Andrew Boff

London mayor Sadiq Khan’s affordable housing targets are impacting on Transport for London’s plans to build 10,000 homes by 2020, Greater London Authority Conservative member Andrew Boff has said.

In his election campaign last year, Khan promised to “set a target for 50% of all new homes in London to be genuinely affordable” but in a housing strategy launched last November the new mayor agreed to allow private housebuilders to limit the amount of affordable housing in new developments to 35%.

But Boff (pictured) said: “The affordable housing targets actually get in the way of bringing forward sites. This is a fear we’ve had with such high affordable housing targets, that actually it prevents the homes London needs from being built.”

At the beginning of last year TfL appointed 13 development partners, including Balfour Beatty and Berkeley Group, to joint venture with it on the development of sites.

However, progress bringing sites forward has been slow with only framework partner U+I and Notting Hill Housing so far picking up a development earlier this year for 400 new homes on a four acre site next to Kidbrooke Station in Greenwich.

Boff said the framework was really only geared towards large scale developments – but many of TfL’s sites are small and complicated, potentially costly to develop and possibly requiring “significant subsidy”.

“The framework isn’t interested in a site where you can only build six homes. That is not interesting to them at all. We wonder whether the framework is such a saving of bureaucracy, which was its original intention,” Boff added.

Last week, TfL came under fire from the Greater London Authority’s housing committee, of which Boff is a member, and was told that it will need to ramp up development in order to achieve its housing target.

Radical steps will need to be taken by TfL, it added, such as enabling small builders to build homes by working with local boroughs to shoulder some of the extra burden such as planning and costs.