August 31, 2017

New Supplementary Planning Guidance to boost affordable housing

London residential development

The Mayor's initiative could prove to be a clever way of both increasing the number of affordable houses that are built and also the speed with which they come forward.

What are the implications for developers?

The guidance offers developers of private land a fast track route through the planning process if:

- a development provides a minimum of 35% affordable housing, and
- that affordable housing is provided without any public funding.

The fast track route will also apply to public land, but in that case at least 50% of the housing must be affordable.

In essence, offering these levels of affordable housing removes consideration of the development's viability from the planning process. This both speeds up the process and reduces the costs for the developer.

Is there a catch?

A condition of planning permissions granted via this expedited route is that development must commence within two years of the grant of planning permission (currently the normal provision is three years).

Next steps?

It will be interesting to watch other local authorities, especially other London boroughs, to see whether they issue similar supplementary planning guidance.

Also, how will developers react? Will they opt for speed and reduced planning costs over potentially lower end values for development sites?

Time will tell.

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