At a New London Architecture Conference this week the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, James Murray emphasised that addressing London’s housing shortage will be a “marathon not a sprint”.
The former Islington Member for Housing & Development spoke in an optimistic tone, highlighting that, in his first six months in the role, there was plenty to be positive about. He was keen to advocate the importance of developing policy with business and talked of “building a coalition, a consensus and an alliance” to create the homes that the capital needs.
He went into further detail on three key issues:
1. Land – Murray stated that there was broad agreement at City Hall that public sector land needs to be brought forward quicker and more efficiently. He added that the Mayor’s Office wants to have a more active role with this aim and there is a part to play for them in land assembly.
2. Funding – The Deputy Mayor stated that London needs a sizeable share of a national investment programme which has to support a range of different products, such as first time buyers, renters and housing associations.
3. Planning – Murray stated that there has previously been confusion over definitions of affordable housing. He underlined that clarity over developers’ contributions is needed and he has taken steps to address this.
In light of this last point, he revealed that a report will be published in the coming months detailing a consistent approach to viability assessments setting out the fixed contribution for affordable housing. Further to this, a good practice guide for estates regeneration will be released in autumn 2016.
Murray concluded by expressing an openness to build across different tenures, price ranges and delivery models. Aware of the challenges that Khan’s office must take on, he explained that it will be a journey and it is essential “that we bring people (Londoners) with us”.