Policy 3.11 Affordable housing targets

Policy

Strategic

A  The Mayor will, and boroughs and other relevant agencies and partners should, seek to maximise affordable housing provision and ensure an average of at least 17,000 more affordable homes per year in London over the term of this Plan.  In order to give impetus to a strong and diverse intermediate housing sector, 60% of the affordable housing provision should be for social and affordable rent and 40% for intermediate rent or sale.  Priority should be accorded to provision of affordable family housing.

LDF preparation

B  Boroughs should set an overall target in LDFs for the amount of affordable housing provision needed over the plan period in their areas and separate targets for

  • social/affordable rented; and
  • intermediate

housing and reflect the strategic priority accorded to provision of affordable family housing and to making the best use of available resources to maximise affordable housing output.

C  LDF affordable housing targets should take account of:

a  current and future housing requirements identified in line with Policies 3.8, 3.10 and 3.11

b  the strategic targets and priority accorded to affordable family housing set out in section A above

c  the approach to coordinating provision and targets to meet the range of strategic, sub-regional and local affordable housing needs in London set out in Policy 3.8, paragraphs 3.65 - 3.67 and Supplementary Planning Guidance and the Mayor’s London Housing Strategy

d  the need to promote mixed and balanced communities (see Policy 3.9)

e  capacity to accommodate development including potential sources of supply outlined in para 3.67

f   the viability of future development, taking into account future resources as far as possible.

D  Affordable housing targets may be expressed in absolute or percentage terms in light of local circumstances, reflecting the priorities in 3.11 A-C above, the borough’s contribution towards meeting strategic affordable housing targets in light of the framework set by the Plan and guidance in SPG. They should also provide a robust basis for implementing these targets through the development management process.

Supporting text

3.64  The London SHMA[1] demonstrates that the high cost of market housing in London makes affordable housing particularly important in meeting housing needs. The SHMA seeks to address the key relationships between incomes and housing costs as well as demographic trends, voluntary sharing and tackling unmet need to 2036.  Of the overall average annual housing requirement, it suggests that approximately 25,600 should be affordable (see paragraph 3.44, above). However, when setting an affordable housing target account must also be taken of the deliverability of these homes. Affordable housing funding over the full term of this Plan is not known. Based on the funding that was available and the record of delivery of affordable homes over recent years, the housing need requirement and taking into account the housing supply target, an average of 17,000 additional affordable homes per annum has been set as the strategic target for the term of the Plan. This will be monitored closely, especially in light of changing economic conditions and its adoption will not compromise delivery of a higher number.

3.65  Derivation of separate targets for social/ affordable rented and intermediate housing has been informed by the SHMA and other relevant factors including the role intermediate housing can play in helping Londoners get a first step on the housing ladder, reducing the call on social/affordable rented housing, freeing up social/affordable rented homes, providing wider housing choices and securing a more balanced social mix on mono-tenure estates. Account has also been taken of the way intermediate housing development can extend the effectiveness of scarce public resources by increasing overall housing output through partnership working with the private sector.

3.66  In light of announced investment patterns[2] and the Government’s intention that affordable rent should meet the same housing needs hitherto addressed by social rented housing[3]. The Mayor proposes that as a long term strategic target 60 per cent of new affordable housing should be for social/affordable renting, especially for families, and that 40 per cent should be for the range of intermediate housing products outlined in the London Housing Strategy to meet different needs, including those arising from groups which hitherto have not been able to afford market housing but have been excluded from intermediate housing. The Mayor recognises that these are challenging targets, particularly in current economic conditions, but to meet Londoners’ housing needs all stakeholders must engage to achieve them over the term of the Plan.

3.67  Policy 3.8 outlines arrangements for coordinating local, sub regional and strategic needs assessments so the range of housing requirements can be addressed effectively in London’s complex regional housing market. In order to maximise affordable housing provision boroughs should take account of the most robust available assessment of housing capacity including those identified in Policy 3.3, and of potential sources of supply, such as:

  • local authority developments, including net gain from estate regeneration
  • affordable housing schemes funded independently of planning contributions from private development
  • affordable housing secured through planning agreements or conditions on private residential or mixed use (including residential) development
  • long term vacant properties brought back into use
  • provision from non-self-contained accommodation.

3.68  In setting their affordable housing targets boroughs are required to assess the economic viability of land for housing, taking account of risks to delivery and drawing on informed assessments of public funding and developer contributions. The Mayor has already established close working relationships with the boroughs on affordable housing investment within their areas which will inform this process. Boroughs should enable the range of affordable rents to be applied and should not sent rent targets for affordable rented housing in their local development frameworks as this is likely to impede maximisation of affordable housing provision Londonwide. The Mayor may provide details of where variations to Affordable Rent can apply in his London Housing Strategy and other relevant documents.

3.69  The Mayor will engage with boroughs individually to enable them to set local affordable housing targets which are in general conformity with the London Plan’s strategic targets. Supplementary guidance will provide indicative guidance on the approach set out in Policy 3.11 to inform this process. It will also include guidance on local implementation of the strategic social/affordable rent and intermediate target and of the strategic priority for provision of affordable family homes. The Mayor recognises that, in light of local circumstances, boroughs may wish to express their targets in different ways, including in absolute or percentage terms. However the targets are expressed they must be robust in implementing a borough’s contribution to the strategic affordable housing targets through the development management process.

[1]     Mayor of London. SHMA. 2014. op cit

[2]     Mayor of London. A revised London housing strategy – initial proposal. Consultation with the London Assembly and the GLA group. GLA, 2011

[3]     CLG, HCA 2011 op cit

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