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Where Sadiq Khan Wants You To Build And 6 Other Things You Need To Know From The New London Plan

On Wednesday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan unveiled his draft London Plan, the planning and strategy document that lays out how London will build homes and grow over the next decade or more.

Here are seven key takeaways from the 564-page document.

These are the areas that are ripe for new development

A map of the areas Mayor Sadiq Khan has outlined as ripe for development

The pastel-shaded areas on this map are the areas Khan and his team have outlined as having the biggest potential for new development, situated as they are along the routes of new and proposed transport links. Areas like New Cross, Kingston and Wood Green are likely to see significant new activity. Some of Khan's London Plan will involve working more closely with local authorities outside the mayoral area.

Density is coming to an area near you

Khan wants to more than double the current rate of homebuilding to 66,000 new homes a year, but has vowed to protect London’s Green Belt. This will be achieved, he hopes, by scrapping rules that set a limit on the density of new developments to allow for much denser schemes particularly in town centres and areas near good transport links. 

Digging into the details, the new plan is encouraging developments of higher density (and greater height) in and on the edge of town centres, particularly on top of town centre retail and urban car parks. It also targets edge-of-town retail parks as examples of low density and therefore poor use of scarce land. Expect to see housing on top of your local Homebase soon.

Greater density means a keener eye on design


Khan and his team seem to be aware of the antipathy toward tall buildings among many people, and so have stressed that these new developments of higher density need to adhere to stricter design standards. These standards will address things like the size of the homes being created, the materials used and the character of the surrounding area — although it expressly states that just because the surrounding area is low-rise does not mean taller buildings should not be built.

Affordable housing will be more strictly enforced

Khan had raised the prospect of demanding that 65% of all new London homes be affordable, something that sent a shiver of apprehension through the development community. Instead, that figure will be 50%, with private house builders having an effective target of 35%. The difference will be made up through the fact that schemes on land owned by the Greater London Authority will be almost entirely affordable homes.

Clearer guidelines for the build-to-rent sector


As was addressed by Deputy Mayor James Murray at Bisnow’s London State of the Market event earlier in November, the nascent build-to-rent sector has lacked clarity over what constitutes affordable housing for rental schemes. That has been rectified. The affordable portion of a new BTR scheme can be made up entirely of rental units at discounted market rents. If at least 30% of the scheme is made up of such units, it will be fast-tracked through the planning system. What constitutes a discounted market rent? The plan said the preference is for it to mean the London Living Rent, which is 30% of the average London salary.

More green space

The London Plan states it will not support areas being de-designated part of the Green Belt. Both urban and suburban open space will be protected, and developers and local authorities need to put forward plans to put more green space into new schemes.

Industrial space will be protected just as fiercely

Much industrial space has been lost to housing in London in recent years, but Khan wants to put an end to this to protect employment and delivery space for London. Three districts have too much industrial space — Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Newham — but in the others, there is to be a policy of no overall net loss of industrial space.