The Mayor of London has put forward radical plans to build on small plots of land across the city and its suburbs to try and tackle the housing shortage.
Town halls are going to be given a target for how many new homes they must build on small sites across the capital each year as Mayor Sadiq Khan aims to create 25,000 homes on plots near existing residential and commercial properties.
Rules protecting local character would be removed under the plans, and developers could be given permission to build on vacant lots and gardens, as long as the amount of “green cover” remains the same – which would involve adding green roofs and planting trees in the streets.
Khan said: “With London’s population expected to increase by 70,000 every year, reaching 10.8 million in 2041, it’s vital we properly plan for growth with new affordable homes in every area.
“I am using all of the powers at my disposal in my first draft London Plan to tackle the housing crisis head-on, removing ineffective constraints on homebuilders so that we can make the most of precious land in the capital to build more homes in areas with the best transport links.”
The Mayor has said he will uphold protection for the Green Belt, but some critics have labelled it a land grab that will lead to overcrowded conditions in the city.
Planning expert Michael Edwards said: “I think it’s a mistake,” he said. “Developers (will) bid more and more for land in competition with each other and drive the price up because they know they can get the money back by building more densely.”
There are currently only around 10,000 new homes built on small plots each year, so the proposals would more than double this figure.
In terms of planning and construction, there will be stricter fire safety standards, as well as evacuation lifts, in response to the Grenfell tower disaster.
The plan will be subject to public consultation and scrutiny by an independent panel, the government and the London Assembly before it can be approved.