Gove calls up ‘super-squad’ to clear London planning log-jam

The Housing Secretary Michael Gove has taken the unusual step of intervening in the London Plan to boost housing delivery in the capital.

He has called on the Capital’s Mayor to review the London plan with view to releasing over 700 hectares of industrial land and relaunching opportunity areas.

The Government has also called up new ‘super-squad’ of planners to work across London to speed up planning decisions.

The specialist team will work on complex cases that for too long have been held up in the planning system.  Newham and Greenwich have been prioritised with £500,000 to help with planning applications and unlock over 7,000 homes.

Gove said:  “Londoners are being let down by the Mayor’s chronic under delivery of new homes in the capital.

“We have already taken comprehensive action to reverse this trend – investing billions of pounds to build affordable homes and unlocking brownfield developments as part of our Long-Term Plan for Housing.

“However, that alone will not build the homes we need, which is why I am now directing the Mayor to review aspects of the London Plan and announcing specialist support on planning to help unlock thousands of homes.

I look forward to continuing to work with the Greater London Authority, councils and the sector so we can get spades in the ground and deliver the homes the capital needs.”

The Greater London Authority has been given until September to report back findings.

The review will focus on two specific areas:

Industrial land: an estimated 6,800 hectares of land is being used for industry in the capital. Of this, 736 hectares, the equivalent of  900 football pitches, could potentially be turned into housing developments, but are stuck in the planning system, and developers have said the current policy is too restrictive.
Opportunity areas: Speed up progress on 47 areas identified as having potential to deliver at least 2,500 new homes or 5,000 new jobs. The Government has asked the Mayor to explain why progress has stalled and asked if there is a role for a single planning framework to accelerate housing.


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