Mayor sets out aspirations on London housing
London Mayor Boris Johnson has published controversial new space standards for the capital’s new homes, Building reported.
The standards, contained in the London Housing Design Guide, stipulate 73 specific requirements, from minimum space and ceiling heights, to mandatory cycle parking provision.
Meeting the standard will be mandatory for homes receiving social housing funding from April 2011, but ultimately all homes will be affected by the guidance as Mayor Boris Johnson intends to incorporate the guide in the London Plan.
Launching the guide, Johnson said it was “shameful” how poorly designed housing in the capital had been and claimed the guidelines will raise the standard of living for thousands of Londoners.
Meanwhile, Construction News reported that the Mayor is set use his increased influence over how the Homes and Communities Agency spends its £5bn London allocation by giving the London boroughs a more proactive role.
The ideas, consistent with the new government’s devolved, “localist” agenda, would allow the London boroughs to draw up individual agreements with the mayor, allowing them to have more control over directing funding to specific projects in their areas.
The Greater London Authority, along with think-tank London Councils, has written to all 33 London boroughs asking for their opinions on its proposed Framework for Devolved Delivery.
The document outlines how a Devolved Delivery Agreement between boroughs, the mayor and the London board of the HCA would set out a three year budget allocation for the borough, giving them more freedom to decide where it is spent.
Senior figures in the housing sector have urged the mayor to use the new powers to ensure that all boroughs of London ended up with social housing, rather than one or two.
National House-Building Council chief executive Imtiaz Farookhi said: “We want to avoid carrying on building socially rented housing where it already is and end up with all the social housing in one of two boroughs.”
A source at one major housebuilder added that social housing provision was uneven: “You have some exemplary boroughs such as Wandsworth and Westminster that have a great track record of bringing forward housing and regeneration projects. But other boroughs don’t have that record.”
Local authorities have until 1 October to comment on the framework or submit expressions of interest in the agreements.