Group of experts created to help bring more affordable homes to London

Taylor Scott International News

The Mayor of London has released the first details of his plans to set up what he describes as a powerful Homes for Londoners team at City Hall to oversee home building in the capital and boost the delivery of new and affordable homes. As a first step Sadiq Khan has begun recruiting new experts to scrutinise 'viability assessments', the financial details that lie behind how much affordable housing new developments include. The experts, who will be drawn from finance surveyors and property consultant experts and be based at City Hall, will support housing delivery by making planning decisions faster and more consistent, and by ensuring new developments include the maximum amount of affordable housing. Khan will also lead a new Homes for Londoners board, formed of London Boroughs, housing associations, and developers. The board will oversee delivery, land assembly and investment decisions, and will draw on expertise from across the housing and property sectors to help develop new policy for the capital. ‘Home ownership has been slipping increasingly out of reach for more and more Londoners, and rents have been getting harder and harder to afford. I want to be honest with Londoners from the start that it will take time to turn things around,’ he said. ‘I am determined that Londoners get the same opportunities this great city gave me. That is why I am setting up my Homes for Londoners team to speed up home building and to move towards 50% of new homes in London being genuinely affordable to rent and buy,’ he added. A review of capacity and skills across the GLA will now get underway. Its aim is to ensure the Homes for Londoners team can play a more active role in the delivery of housing, particularly in bringing forward public land in London, and speeding up the planning process. This may also lead to additional expertise and support being recruited into the team in due course. David Montague, chair of the g15, said that Homes for Londoners will bring together the GLA, housing associations, local authorities and house builders to tackle the capital's housing crisis. ‘The priority now must be to build a long term pipeline of clean serviced and consented land. With this we can guarantee apprenticeships, jobs, economic growth, thriving communities and affordable homes. Without it, London will lose out in the competition for investment and growth,’ he pointed out. Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive London First, which has published a major report on Homes for Londoners, described the move as an important and encouraging step towards solving the capital's housing crisis. ‘We want it to have a relentless focus on delivery, including getting more public land into the market,’ she added. According to Steve Bullock, executive member for housing, London Councils, believes that it will help all key agencies work closer together towards building the thousands of extra homes London urgently needs. Taylor Scott International

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