Our kids can’t buy a home in London. Am I to be the last generation of ordinary Londoners who can afford to live here?
Londoners don’t believe London can solve the London housing crisis alone.
To build in the way we do, constantly increasing unattainable targets and then increasing them again when they are not met, means they are simply not believed by Londoners.
I also believe, as a deregulator and devolutionist, that the London Plan is now over regulating Borough‘s in what they can and cannot do. There should be a balance between local and Mayoral policy and it has tipped too far towards the Mayor. The London Plan is not going to build the homes we need because planning policy is always catching up with reality.
Housing is also something being used to divide our city. The Mayor’s current plan for all the growth in housing to be in the suburbs by demolishing post-war suburban homes and building apartments on the plots, is simply not the answer to London’s problems. Turning outer London into inner London does nothing to bring our city together.
We need a new type of London Plan that frees Boroughs to work with developers on the form and type of homes they want and let City Hall deal with strategic housing solutions, supporting the Boroughs. This is a OneLondon approach to housing.
Housing in London has also become unaffordable for most Londoners – even the affordable is mostly unaffordable. In Boroughs like Kingston, Camden, Westminster and Richmond if 100% of the housing we built was all “affordable” then still no one on a nurses or teachers salary could pay the bills to live there.
Places like Enfield and Barking are simply not building fast enough and we need new methods of construction and new methods of funding. Both are available if we want to find them.
There will always be sites to build right across London but the next Mayor needs to do more to work with the wider south east and concentrate more on real growth areas that need new infrastructure. We need to support those places outside of London who want to build homes by using London-wide infrastructure to reach across the greenbelt – not on the greenbelt – to support development plans across the region. If London can’t build then we should use our financial muscle to help others build as that is our role as the nation’s capital.