Westminster Labour are calling for the council to urgently adopt the recommendations of the Mayor of London’s new Homes for Londoners: Affordable Housing and Viability Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) 2017. The Mayor’s approach requires that new housing developments which fail to provide at least 35% social or genuinely affordable housing on site, must produce publicly accessible viability information that is open to scrutiny. At present developers far too often erroneously plead commercial confidentiality and make it very difficult to challenge their dubious claims to unprofitability of schemes that subsequently generate them millions in profits.
The SPG also makes a raft of different technical recommendations that can assist the provision of new social and genuinely affordable housing.
Irrespective of what the council, Westminster Labour or others may like to see in terms of national Government reform of the viability system, Sadiq Khan’s approach provides a solution that can be implemented now. Especially given that Westminster will be required to adopt this approach in 2019 at the time of the new London Plan, the Council should get on and implement this approach to put real pressure on developers to meet their basic obligations to provide social and genuinely affordable housing.
Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “For too long the viability industry has been helping developers escape from their responsibilities to provide social and genuinely affordable housing. Westminster Council should urgently adopt the Mayor’s guidance in order to bring some transparency and accountability to these murky practices.”