The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has approved a major new residential development in Mill Hill after intervening to double the level of affordable homes and to include homes at social rent levels within the development.
The Mayor says this underlines “his tough approach to accelerating the delivery of new and genuinely affordable housing in London”.
Barnet Council refused permission for the development on the former National Institute for Medical Research site in February this year, against the advice of its own planning officers.
When the Mayor first saw the plans in December last year, they included 20 per cent affordable housing – 92 homes, all of which were for shared ownership. Earlier this year the Mayor ‘called in’ the planning application and has now secured twice as much (40 per cent) affordable housing on the site – 185 homes, including 131 for shared ownership and 54 at social rent levels.
Sadiq also got the developer to agree not to fell 119 trees which would have been felled across the site, and to plant an additional 91 new trees. The development will also see a number of sports pitches previously in private hands transferred to the local council for community use.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Delivering more of the genuinely affordable homes Londoners need is one of my top priorities as Mayor and I will use all the tools at my disposable to do so.
“This development offers a significant number of high-quality homes which will be available through shared ownership, to help people struggling to buy a home on the open market. I have also been able to secure new homes at social rent levels within the development, which is key to helping Londoners on low incomes and to making sure we build a mixed community here.
“I am also delighted my planners have saved more than 100 trees from removal as well as increased the number of new trees planted – all of which will be enjoyed by the future residents in this new development for years to come.”
Sadiq Khan has implemented a new approach to housing delivery. He recruited a team of experts to scrutinise and challenge developers’ viability studies if he felt they meant too low a proportion of affordanble homes. Earlier this year, he published his Affordable Housing and Viability SPG, which he says offers a surer, quicker route through the planning process for developments with least 35 per cent affordable housing.