Ken has published his first statutory housing strategy setting out what he’d like to achieve over the next few years. At this stage its in draft form, so you (and I) can send in our comments on what is in it and how it should change.
Given that the Mayor now has direct responsibility for London’s affordable housing budget worth over £1 billion a year the strategy is as ambitious as you’d expect.
In an email that was sent to members of the Labour Party in London Ken says:
As well as reinforcing the London Plan target that fifty per cent of all new homes in the capital should be affordable, the strategy introduces measures to increase the supply of affordable family-sized homes. It will quadruple the number of new larger homes for low cost home ownership – providing many more opportunities for families on modest incomes who want to get on the property ladder.
The strategy will ensure that public funding is only given to new homes meeting high standards of environmental performance and will expect new larger developments to deliver additional environmental benefits, such as combined cooling, heat and power.
He goes on to point out that his period in office has seen the numbers of new homes rise from 17,000 a year in 2000 to 28,000 last year (which exceeded the target that Ken had set in 2004, something that many saw as ambitious).
The draft strategy says about the coming period:
This strategy and Strategic Housing Investment Plan will increase the output of new affordable housing by 50 per cent, resulting in more than 50,000 new affordable homes being delivered between 2008 – 2011…
The strategy will enable more family homes to be built, especially in the affordable sector where the need is greatest and where new supply has been limited in recent years. It sets a new target that 42 per cent of new social rented homes and, by 2010/11, 16 per cent of new intermediate homes, should have three bedrooms or more…
Thirty eight per cent of London’s carbon emissions come from homes and the Mayor wants to see emissions from housing decrease by 30 per cent by 2025. This is a major challenge, and one that can only be achieved by both maximising the environmental performance of new homes and improving that of the existing stock.
It also talks about tackling homelessness and overcrouding and sets out the structures that Ken expects to deliver the strategy.
Should you have comments on the strategy it looks like you’ve got three months to make them.