Judge rules in favour of Mayor’s threshold approach to housing

23 May 2018

The Mayor of London’s Office has today welcomed a judgment handed down by the High Court that has backed the Mayor’s ‘threshold’ approach to affordable housing.

Following a legal challenge by four retirement homes developers, the Hon Mr Justice Ouseley has ruled that the Mayor’s threshold approach, which allows developments to be fast tracked through the planning system where they provide at least 35 per cent affordable housing, is consistent with the adopted London Plan.

The judge rejected claims by McCarthy and Stone Retirement Lifestyles Ltd, Pegasus Life Ltd, Churchill Retirement Living and Renaissance Retirement Ltd that this policy, contained within the Mayor’s Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) on Affordable Housing and Viability, would fail to secure the maximum reasonable level of affordable housing.

Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Skills and Regeneration, said; “Tackling the capital’s housing crisis is the Mayor’s top priority and this ruling is an important moment for thousands of Londoners who are desperate for genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy.

“Our guidance sets out a clear approach that makes the planning system in London clearer, quicker and more consistent. I am pleased that the Judge has backed this approach which will help us to turn around years of neglect when it comes to building the homes Londoners so desperately need.”

The Mayor’s Draft London Plan includes the same requirements on reviews as the SPG. The judgment confirms that this has weight as it is an emerging plan.

The judgment also rejected the claims of the retirement homes developers that the guidance should have been the subject of Strategic Environmental Assessment and found that the claims that the Mayor had failed to have due regard to his duties under the public sector equality duty of the Equality Act 2010 were unarguable.

Notes to editors

The latest figures show 12,526 new affordable homes were started over the last 12 months, including thousands at social rent levels – achieving the Mayor’s target for the year and recording the highest number of affordable homes started since City Hall took over funding.

The Mayor is on track to deliver his ambition of starting 116,000 genuinely affordable homes by 2022.

The SPG requires that late viability reviews are provided in all cases where a development does not meet the relevant threshold level of affordable housing.

The judgment says that applying this to shorter term schemes without reference to whether this is delayed or not is inconsistent with the current London Plan.

However the Mayor’s Draft London Plan includes the same requirement on reviews as the SPG. The judgment confirms that this has weight as it is an emerging plan.

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