Plans to introduce affordable housing targets and private rented sector initiatives welcomed by architects

Architects have welcomed proposals by the mayor of London to speed up the supply and quality of new housing in the capital, including initiatives to add to the stock of private rental homes.

The mayor has launched a consultation on draft planning guidance aimed at maximising the construction of quality homes for Londoners. The measures included plans to build specifically for long-term private rent; plans to introduce affordable housing targets in new areas; and details on vacant building credits for developers.

HTA Design partner Ben Derbyshire said the initiative should provide opportunities for PRS clients as well as fixed targets for affordable housing.

“Our PRS clients are finding it very tough in the current market, constrained as they are,” he said. “We are also very much in favour of fixed affordable housing targets in order to avoid the voodoo associated with viability negotiations.”

Earle Arney, chief executive of Arney Fender Katsalidis, welcomed the measures but believes they do not go far enough.

“Considerations from the GLA like increasing support behind PRS and mixed-use developments in town centres are positive ways to address the housing shortage in London,” he said.

“Although both revisions highlight the potential and capacity for resi-led, high density progress in our city, the real prize is the release of brownfield land held by the public sector which can more than satisfy the housing targets we so desperately need to hit. When are we going to commence the real debate on how to unlock this opportunity?”

The new housing guidance issued by the mayor is open for public consultation until August 7. If given final approval the measures will form part of the mayor’s supplementary planning guidance for housing.

The new housing guidance can be found here.