London Mayor launches land use initiative

Mark mark at
Tue Nov 3 15:06:12 GMT 2009

Johnson launches land use initiative
by Domenic Donatantonio, PlanningResource, 3 November 2009

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has launched a scheme to free up
under-used land owned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) for
affordable homes.

Johnson has asked for an audit of land owned across the GLA, including
TfL, the London Development Agency and the London Fire and Emergency
Planning Authority, to identify potential sites.

The scheme would see the GLA act as a shareholder in any new development
with future profits re-invested into affordable housing in the capital.

Speaking at his Housing Investment Summit in London, Johnson said: "We're
already on track to deliver 50,000 affordable homes but this success
cannot be an excuse to take our foot off the pedal.

"The GLA is sitting on hundreds of potential housing sites that could be
used to build more than 32,000 new homes and I know we’re not alone.
London’s councils, private institutions and the Homes and Communities
Agency can all do the same but the cost and red tape involved is

"I want to change this. To do this we need innovative ideas that will
reshape how we invest, build and deliver affordable homes in London and in
return I’ll put my land where my mouth is and show London is leading the
way on delivering affordable homes for 2011 and beyond."

Johnson will invite proposals from institutional investors to use GLA land
for housing and a new steering group will be set up to go through any
submissions. Headed by the mayor’s housing advisor Richard Blakeway, the
first results are expected early in the New Year.

Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group leader Mike Tuffrey said Johnson
was "recycling" announcements: "I am baffled by the mayor declaring today
that he would like to see an audit of land owned across the GLA when the
Mayor is on record as claiming such an audit has already been undertaken!

"The mayor clearly needs to spend more time delivering on his pledges and
less time recycling announcements."

Jenny Jones London Assembly Green Party Member said: "One and a half years
into his term he should be announcing delivery of affordable homes, not
rehashing his manifesto.

"His targets sound ambitious but only just meet Londoners' private housing
need, and fail overcrowded, deprived households by only promising half the
much-needed social housing identified by his own housing market

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