Mayor needs to look beyond London to meet housing shortfall, says inspector

London mayor Boris Johnson needs to 'engage' with the Home Counties to help the capital meet an annual shortfall of 6,600 homes a year, a planning inspector has recommended.

Pic: Kotomi, Flickr
Pic: Kotomi, Flickr

In a report on the examination of the revised version of the Greater London Authority (GLA’s) London Plan, inspector Anthony Thickett found that the document’s housing targets are not high enough to meet the capital’s need.

The Further Alterations to the London Plan (FALP) also fails to meet the legal duty to cooperate in relation to waste, he found, reporting that "the mayor did not engage constructively with adjoining waste planning authorities" in formulating the document.

Unlike local plans, however, the London Plan, as a regional strategy, cannot fail examination for not meeting the duty.

The FALP sets the capital's ten-year housing target at 42,000 homes a year, but outlines an annual housing need of between 49,000 and 62,000.

According to Thickett’s report, the mayor argued during examination hearings that 49,000 homes a year could be granted planning permission by focusing on town centres and other key areas.

But the inspector said he does "not see how the mayor can guarantee the delivery of" the extra 6,600 homes per year to "meet the identified need".

He went on to say that he is "not persuaded" that this shortfall "will be delivered", adding: "The evidence before me strongly suggests that the existing London Plan strategy will not deliver sufficient homes to meet objectively assessed need."

The mayor had committed to review the London Plan in 2016, but the inspector insisted that a review starts as soon as the FALP is adopted next year. 

He said: "In my view, the mayor needs to explore options beyond the existing philosophy of the London Plan.

"That may, in the absence of a wider regional strategy to assess the options for growth and to plan and co-ordinate that growth, include engaging local planning authorities beyond the GLA’s boundaries in discussions regarding the evolution of our capital city."

The inspector’s report can be found here.

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