The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson have announced that 50,000 new homes, across twenty new housing zones, will be created in London, while visiting a prospective new zone in Enfield, North London.
Housing zones are a new approach being used by the government, to get new homes built quickly.
Local authorities identify and package together brownfield land which could be used for development into a housing zone, remove all unnecessary planning restrictions across it and partner with a developer to build new homes. The absence of planning constraints in these zones will significantly accelerate construction.
Central government supports housing zones by making loans available to local authorities for necessary infrastructure and other remedial work on the site. Last November the Mayor’s Housing Strategy set out plans for ten potential housing zones, today’s announcement will double that as central government and the Greater London Authority (GLA) will each offer £200 million for twenty zones.
The Chancellor and Mayor launched the scheme today at Meridian Water, an 85 hectare former industrial site in Enfield that has the potential for 5,000 new homes, new schools, a library and commercial space, linking to the nearby Lea Valley regional park.
To ensure that developments in housing zones progress as quickly as possible, the government will grant the Mayor substantial powers, in the form of Mayoral Development Orders, to remove planning obstacles.
These new zones are in line with the major shake-up of planning rules to support house building announced by the Chancellor in his Mansion House Speech, yesterday.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said:
“A key part of our long term economic plan is to build the houses Britain needs, so that families have the economic security that comes with home ownership. House building is at its highest since 2008 across London and England, but there is still a lot more to do to tackle the UK’s long term housing challenge.
“The new housing zones will be a shot in the arm for house building in London, creating tens of thousands of new homes for hardworking families across the capital”.
The Mayor of London said:
“Housing is the biggest challenge facing London’s economic development and these new £400 million housing zones will turbo boost housing supply across the capital. This major regeneration will transform communities and provide up to 50,000 much needed homes. They will support 250,000 Londoners into low cost home ownership over the next decade.”
The Mayor’s Office has worked with a number of London boroughs to test the concept. These include:
- Meridian Water in Enfield
- Tottenham Hale in Haringey
- Southall in Ealing
- South Poplar in Tower Hamlets
- Winstanley and York Road in Wandsworth
The government will also be creating ten new housing zones outside London. This will be backed by up to £200 million of central government loans for infrastructure and clean-up work on the sites.
The funding for housing zones will be allocated by competition. The Mayor has today published his prospectus inviting bids from local authorities in London. The Department for Communities & Local Government will publish a prospectus inviting bids from local authorities across the country later this year.