London Plan examiners 'recommend that 65,000-home annual target is cut by 20 per cent'

The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has provisionally recommended that the mayor of London slashes the proposed housing target in the new draft London Plan from 65,000 homes per year to 52,000, according to press reports.

London mayor Sadiq Khan
London mayor Sadiq Khan

The draft plan was published in November 2017 and includes an overall housing target of 65,000 homes a year, with much higher housing targets for the vast majority of London boroughs compared to the existing London Plan.

The examination in public into the draft plan, by a panel of three inspectors, closed in May.

PINS has now issued a fact-checking document on the examination to allow the mayor of London to give feedback ahead of it issuing its full post-examination report.

According to the Greater London Authority, the full report is subject to change depending on the mayor of London’s fact-checking responses.

London’s Evening Standard newspaper has published an article which claims that the fact-checking document has revealed that the examining inspectors regard the mayor’s 65,000-home target as "undeliverable" and have advised that it is cut to 52,000.

The article, based on a "leaked note", says this is "because his officials have overestimated how many homes can be built on derelict small sites that he believes can be remediated and made attractive to developers."

The newspaper said the note states: "The inspectors have considered that the target set by the mayor is likely undeliverable (in part due to the small sites strategy) and as such have recommended that this is reduced to 52,000 homes a year (from 65,000)."

The plan's small sites policy proposes individual targets for boroughs to deliver housing on smaller sites, defined as those of 25 homes or fewer. 

In February, in a submission to the examination in public of the plans, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) flagged concerns over the small sites policy. The MHCLG submission expressed "concern" that the approach was "not consistent with national policy".

The mayor of London’s office would not confirm or deny whether the details in the article were correct, but said: "Sadiq makes no apologies at all for his ambitious plans to build new homes for Londoners - particularly new council homes. After all, in London we started building more new council homes last year than in any year since 1984.

"It is deeply disappointing that the government does not share Sadiq’s ambition on housing - and are still refusing to properly fund affordable housing in London."

A PINS spokesman said: "The London Plan has been examined by an independent panel of three inspectors.

"At the end of the examination the panel sends its report to the GLA who will publish it in the coming weeks. We would not comment on the contents of a leaked report prepared by an independent panel for the GLA."

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