Bridging Finance News:- A strategic review of London’s green belt is needed if the capital is to hit its target of building 66,000 new homes a year, argues the inspectorate report.
The report claims that the capital’s small sites development target, which was to have delivered 38 percent of London’s new homes, is unrealistic.
“The evidence simply does not justify the reliance placed by the Mayor on small sites to fill the gap. To accept the targets attributed to many of the boroughs would be setting up the plan to fail,” said the report authors, Roisin Barrett, William Fieldhouse and David Smith.
They suggest just 119,250 new homes can be built on such sites – 51 percent less than the earlier target. This means the overall housing targets for London boroughs would drop from 649,350 over the next ten years to 522,850.
Estate agents Savills said London’s target of new house building a year would be reduced from 66,000 to just 52,000.
Smaller development plots often present more challenges
Savills planning director, Nick de Lotbiniere, said there were more hurdles involved with developing small sites than large ones such as fragmented land ownership.
“You only need to have one person who doesn’t want to sell and you have a difficult position on land assembly.”
He added that smaller sites in residential areas are also more likely to go to a planning appeal.
“When you start to unpick it a bit more, there are lots of difficulties developing on small sites.”
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Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates agreed that developing smaller plots was often more arduous and not all SME developers had the resources to deal with planning appeals. The brokerage added that development finance lenders would welcome a review of the green belt to help London boroughs hit housing need targets.
The Mayor’s office is expected to submit a revised version of the plan to the secretary of state before the end of next month with the final plan published by February or March 2020.