London mayor presses Greenwich council to increase affordable housing quota for peninsula redevelopment.
London mayor Ken Livingstone is to demand that the redevelopment of the site containing the Millennium Dome should include least 1750 affordable homes, 35% of its residential component.

Greenwich council's proposed unitary development plan, which details the borough's housing needs, suggests that affordable housing need only comprise 30% of housing projects. Its existing plan also asks for 30%.

But Livingstone and deputy mayor Nicky Gavron have told Greenwich that it should push developers to meet the higher proportion. This includes the Lend Lease-led consortium behind the £4bn dome scheme.

The Greater London Authority's opinion is important as it has the power to "direct refusal" of planning permission if it objects to a particular scheme.

Gavron said she and Livingstone had informed the Bovis Lend Lease consortium, known as Millennium Delta, of the affordable housing quota they expected from the site. She said: "We are pushing for 35% on the dome site – and as a minimum across the borough. We are trying to be consistent."

Millennium Delta achieved preferred bidder status for the 76 ha site in December last year. At the time, the consortium said the scheme had the potential to make the largest contribution of any single housing development to Livingstone's targets for the capital.

We want 35% on the dome site and across the borough

Nicky Gavron, deputy mayor

The consortium is now in talks with the government, English Partnerships and the Greater London Authority. A finalised deal is expected in May.

The consortium has employed architect Sir Terry Farrell to masterplan the site. Farrell is expected to include 5000 new homes in the plan, and US leisure group Anschwitz will run a 20,000-seat stadium in the dome itself. The stadium is expected to open by Christmas 2004.

Greenwich council will present the first draft of its unitary development plan to the GLA's planning committee on 2 April. The council has commissioned a housing needs study, which may result in higher affordable housing percentages in later drafts of the plan.

Ken Livingstone originally called for 50% affordable housing in London developments in autumn 2000.

Ultimately the mayor still wants each borough under his authority to set 50% targets. But councils will not have to introduce this quota until Livingstone completes his spatial development strategy, which is not expected for at least a year.