Families missing out in Mayor’s drive for density

12 March 2014

Housing in London is under strain from a growing population and the pressure is set to increase over the coming years. The London Assembly Planning Committee heard today about how the drive to accommodate new homes being built in London is resulting in increased densities, but not higher numbers of family homes.

The density matrix, one of the key tools in deciding the density levels of new development in London, is overdue for a review, guests argued.[1] The Committee heard that the density matrix is contributing to the low amount of affordable family housing delivered in the capital because it encourages developers to build one- and two-bedroom flats, which offers higher returns.

Nicky Gavron, Chair of the Planning Committee, said:

“To deliver better outcomes for families, the density matrix must be reviewed to ensure London gets the family-sized housing it needs.

“At the moment, the market is driving developers to build small one- and two-bedroom flats, but this is not what London’s families need. Planning policy must not allow the need for high density to override the need for homes for families on low and modest incomes.”

Notes to editors

  1. The density matrix is a guide for what levels of density can be achieved based on both the setting of an area and the Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) of each site.
  2. Guests invited today were:
  • Nicholas Boys Smith, Director, Create Streets
  • Andy von Bradsky Chairman, PRP Architects and Chair RIBA Housing Group
  • David Birkbeck, Chief Executive, Design for Homes
  • Will McKee CBE, Chair, Tilfen Land and the Urban Exposure Group and Chair of the Mayor's Outer London Commission
  • Colin Wilson, GLA, Senior Manager Planning Decisions
  • Richard Lavington, Maccreanor Lavington Architects
  1. Watch the webcast from today’s meeting http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor-assembly/london-assembly/webcasts
  2. The Planning Committee is undertaking a series of meetings in preparation for responding to the Mayor’s consultation on proposals to revise the London Plan. The Committee will submit its final comments to the Mayor by 10 April.
  3. Nicky Gavron, Chair of the Planning Committee, is available for interview. See contact details below.
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Kiran Dhaliwal on 020 7983 4504. For out-of-hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.