1. Environmental
March 10, 2017

Sadiq Khan just put out a smug press release about delivering four days’ worth of housing

By Jonn Elledge

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan is very pleased with himself today about the fact he’s just given the go ahead for two new housing schemes:

Both schemes are high-density housing developments – tower blocks, in fact – next to tube stations. The move, a press release tells us, “demonstrates his determined approach to accelerating the delivery of new housing in London”.

The applications were the first to be “called-in” by the Mayor after they were refused permission by their respective borough councils. Both applications offer high-density schemes near well-connected transport hubs in outer London locations: Hale Wharf rises up to 21 storeys and is four minutes’ walk from Tottenham Hale (Zone 3), with the Palmerston Road development  going up to 17 storeys, three minutes from Harrow & Wealdstone (Zone 5).

Between them, they’ll add 691 new homes to London, of which 251 (so, 36 per cent) will be classed as affordable. That’s 691 homes which, had Sadiq not stuck his oar own, London would not get. So I don’t want to be too miserablist about this…

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…but I’m me, so I’m going to be.

Let’s put that figure in context. According to an LSE report dating from 2015, London needs 59,000 new homes a year to meet demand. It’s managing 24,000. So 691 homes is less than 1.2 per cent of a year’s supply, and about 2.9 per cent of the annual shortfall.

While we’re here, the mayor went on:

“We’ve worked with the applicant on the Hale Wharf scheme in Haringey to increase the level of affordable housing and ensure the project will not encroach on our precious green belt, as was the case in earlier designs.”

Here’s a map of the area.

Now I guess it’s possible that the earlier designs threatened the Paddock Community Nature Park. But a document on Haringey Council’s website suggests that a block was dropped from the scheme because “the Green Belt boundary at the northern end of the site is open to interpretation”. That’s the bit next to the Ferry Lane Filter Beds.

Sadiq Khan just put out a gleeful press release about the fact he’s secured homes to keep London going for just over four days, and being pleased with himself for protecting some green belt land overlooking a sewage works.

London’s housing crisis is going nowhere fast.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason.

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