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GLA opens consultation on new affordable housing guidance

The Greater London Authority is currently consulting on new supplementary planning guidance that addresses the tricky issue of securing affordable housing on developments in greater London.

Although the proposed SPG does not remove the aspirational target of 50% affordable housing; it goes a long way towards recognising that the target is simply not realistic in the vast majority of cases. 

The draft guidance proposes removing the requirement to provide detailed viability evidence from schemes that provide at least 35% affordable housing, in the form of approved or acceptable tenures, without public subsidy. Schemes which cannot reach this threshold would, however, still need to go through a full viability assessment to justify their position. 

The guidance also suggests that a less onerous target could well be reasonable for Build to Rent or PRS schemes, because of the very different viability profile of these types of developments - something which is frequently overlooked by local authorities when they are making planning policy decisions. 

The consultation period will last from 29 November 2016 to 28 February 2017 and full details of how to respond can be found at:

If you are active in the London Market, it may well be sensible to get involved. 

According to the draft supplementary planning guidance (SPG), published today, applicants for subsidy-free developments that meet or exceed the 35 per cent threshold will not be required to submit viability information, as long as the affordable housing is provided on site, and meets the borough’s specified tenure mix.

But applicants for developments that offer below 35 per cent affordable housing, or need public subsidy to attain that level, would be asked to submit detailed viability information, the document says. Such schemes would also be reviewed to ensure that affordable housing contributions are increased if viability improves over time. But schemes that meet or better the 35 per cent threshold would only undergo such a review if an agreed level of progress is not made within two years of permission being granted.