Delivering the Mayor's manifesto [10]

Session date: 
February 7, 2019
Question By: 
Tom Copley
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) & Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner, Transport for London)

Question

Tom Copley AM:  Mr Mayor, you have said that by March 2021 you will have started on property development sites covering 320 acres of TfL land that will support 10,000 new homes.  In June 2016 the Commissioner said that this is very much the first phase.  When will you announce what phase two will comprise?

 

Answer

Delivering the Mayor's manifesto [10]

Delivering the Mayor's manifesto [10]

Answered By: 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) & Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner, Transport for London)

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Just to give you an update on phase one, you are right that phase one was extremely ambitious.  The Commissioner and I have agreed by 2020/21 to have started 10,000 homes across our city, half of which must be genuinely affordable.  The context is - and you mentioned 300 acres - that TfL is responsible for, including roads, stations, depots and tracks, roughly speaking 5,000 acres.  That is the context and a lot of it is complex.  The key thing there is speaking to neighbours in relation of unlocking access to some of these sites.  It could be a borough; it could be a developer.  Those conversations take place.  Mike has a very good team that is working on this.

 

I am not sure that there will be a big-bang announcement in relation to phase two, but what the Commissioner and his team are doing, I suspect, is talking to neighbouring developers on individual sites.  I am sure that the Commissioner can talk about some of the work his team is doing.

 

Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner of Transport for London):  Yes, that is absolutely right.  As the Mayor said, there will be now a roll out of individual schemes as they become viable because we have been having discussions with neighbouring landowners.  For example, I will talk about a new relationship that we have been having with Network Rail.  There are often pockets of land that sit adjacent to each other.  Kidbrooke in Greenwich, for example, is a great opportunity where the division of land between Network Rail, us, the private sector and the borough has meant that having an overall approach to the site is much more viable for the developers in partnership to work with.  That is the kind of thing we will continue to be pursuing.

 

The other thing I would just give you reassurance on is about the collaboration and working together with the Mayor’s core team within the GLA and our team within TfL.  This is really one team now, in effect.  The fact of the way this is happening and the interaction with boroughs for this development is hugely important.

 

This is a hugely important part of our work.  I am absolutely committed to the 50% affordable.  We are also out at the moment in the market looking at build-at-rent, which is an increasing area of opportunity in London.  The high-quality affordable private rental sector is extraordinarily low compared to any other large city in Europe or in the world and that is quite exciting.  There will be an announcement quite soon on the successful bidder to work with us on that.

 

Tom Copley AM:  We look forward to that.  We are looking at this of course shortly on the Housing Committee.  I am pleased to hear that you have been working collaboratively with Network Rail as well.

 

I believe that in May 2016 it was the Mayor who said that TfL was assessing the capacity for a development of a further 300 acres over the 300 that has already been identified.  Is this assessment going to be published at some point?

 

Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner of Transport for London):  We can certainly do that.  I am very happy to share with you where we have got to and the progress.  There is nothing secret or commercially confidential about this and so I am very happy to share that with you and Assembly Members more broadly.

 

Tom Copley AM:    The estimate was something like between 20,000 and 40,000 homes in total, potentially, dependent on density, etc, across TfL’s land.

 

In terms of affordable, it was incredibly welcome, Mr Mayor, when you came in that you introduced a requirement across the TfL portfolio of 50% affordable, which was not there before, but there is a conflicting pressure in terms of TfL’s finance and affordable housing in terms of the revenue that can be generated for TfL.  How are you balancing this?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Good question.  The good news is that the business plan that TfL has recognises that 50% will be genuinely affordable.  It is worth reminding ourselves because we may forget and it is important to remind London over the next 18 months that we have ditched the dodgy definition of what an affordable home is and we have a definition that actually means genuinely affordable.  It makes it harder, but TfL is quite clear in the understanding of what we mean.  In the business plan there is a figure for the revenues TfL needs to bring in via surplus TfL land, but that includes the calculation that it is 50% genuinely affordable.  My understanding is that the business plan’s sums still add up.

 

The good news is that the number of homes that have been given planning permission is on course to meet that 10,000 target: 3,000 have already been given permission, another 1,200 are in the pipeline and there are some more in the pipeline.  We are on course to meet that and also to make sure the business plan is satisfied in relation to the revenues that need to be generated.