On November 20, 2023, Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, UK called on ministers to back the delivery of tens of thousands of new homes on underutilized ‘brownfield’ land in the capital.
This intelligent request will likely face resistance from national leaders since—as with conservative government everywhere—they blindly believe they can fix the country’s problems by doing more of what created the problems in the first place.
New City Hall analysis shows that an injection of £470 million ($574 million USD) from the national government in their upcoming Autumn Statement would help unlock or accelerate 76,000 new homes on sites across the capital which have previously been built on.
This would help to alleviate the capital’s housing crisis, which is now pushing more and more Londoners into insecure or unaffordable housing.
The funding would build on the huge progress the Mayor has already achieved through his ‘Homes for Londoners’ land fund, which was also designed for this purpose.
Originally allocated to deliver 8,000 homes, it is now outperforming its target delivery and is set to deliver 14,675 homes, with the majority of these properties re-invested in expanding housing provision to further aid homebuilding delivery.
Government support would allow the Mayor to make key interventions to make developments viable such as redeveloping transport infrastructure and site preparation. Among the priority areas for investment is east London, including the Royal Docks, where City Hall investments are already supporting the building of over 4000 new homes.
Recent City Hall analysis shows that London has increased its housing stock by 8 per cent since 2016. If Ministers had managed to match London’s growth in housing completions outside of the capital, then this would have delivered an additional 300,000 homes in the rest of England.
In addition, by working in partnership with councils and housing associations, Sadiq has delivered higher genuinely affordable homebuilding than at any point since City Hall records began and higher council homebuilding than at any point since the 1970s.
However, with national forecasts indicating that homebuilding across the country may fall to the lowest level since the Second World War, the Mayor is calling on the Government to step up and back new housebuilding to secure jobs, growth and urgently needed new homes.
Mayor Khan said, “I’ve made it a top priority to back the delivery of new homes and I’m proud to have delivered record-breaking genuinely affordable homebuilding, helping London’s boroughs to achieve the highest level of council homebuilding since the 1970s.”
“However, there is much more to be done as we pursue a fairer, more prosperous city for all. The Government must act now to enable the building of tens of thousands of homes in the capital and I’m urging them to use the Autumn Statement to do just this,” he added.
The Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, explained, “Building new affordable homes remains the number one priority for Newham in the face of a growing housing crisis and 37,000 residents on our waiting list alone. We are also facing growing cost pressures because too many people are being made homeless and we are having to place them in expensive temporary accommodation. We have been at the forefront of building social rent homes our people can afford and having delivered 1,156 new homes in the past 5 years, hundreds more in the pipeline, we are eager to build more.”
“Boroughs like Newham need to be supported to deliver desperately needed and genuinely affordable homes. Ministers need to back the call by Mayor Sadiq Khan to unleash London so we can deliver more housing on brownfield sites. In Newham alone, we can deliver an additional 565 homes our people can afford on the brownfield sites we have already identified, and there’s another 64 new sites on our Brownfield Register we can build hundreds of more homes our residents desperately need,” she continued.
“With the welcomed support from the GLA, and central government, we have already been rising to the challenge of the housing crisis in London. We all need to go much further so our vital housebuilding targets can be reached. So brownfield development needs to be given the green light in the Autumn statement,” Fiaz concluded.
Delivering more high-quality, genuinely affordable homes has been a stated top priority for Sadiq Khan ever since he took office.