Mayor approves Mount Pleasant application after doubling affordable housing

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has today approved plans to build almost 700 homes on parts of the Mount Pleasant postal sorting site – after doubling the amount of affordable housing that was originally proposed.

The site straddles the London boroughs of Islington and Camden but after both councils missed deadlines to consider the applications, applicant Royal Mail Group asked the Mayor to take on the role of planning authority for the scheme.

Since then, the Mayor’s planning team has been working closely with Royal Mail Group as well as the local councils, and has been able to negotiate for the development to include 24 per cent affordable housing instead of the originally proposed 12 per cent.

In total, the scheme will see the construction of 681 homes, 163 of which will be affordable. Of those, 98 will be affordable rent and 65 will be shared ownership. The affordable rent homes will be an average of 44 per cent of the full market rental value in the area and some of the larger family units could be between 20 to 30 per cent of the full market rental value. There will also be shops, offices, restaurants and public space on half of the site.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“London is growing at a record rate and within a few years there will be more people living here than at any time in the city’s history. Building new homes is absolutely crucial and by working closely with the local authorities and Royal Mail we have been able to bring forward a scheme that had been in serious danger of stalling while doubling the amount of affordable homes.”

Martin Gafsen, Royal Mail Group Property Director, said:

“I am delighted that the Mayor of London has given permission in principle for us to develop parts of our Mount Pleasant site in central London that are surplus to our operational requirements. This is a great opportunity for us to contribute to the regeneration of the area around our iconic mail centre building.”

“The next step for Royal Mail is to complete the design of the pre-development works at Mount Pleasant, which are vital to separate our mail operations from the planned residential areas. Royal Mail will continue to work with the GLA, local authorities, businesses and the community as we progress with our development.”

The Mayor is on track to build a record 100,000 low cost affordable homes for Londoners over his two terms, with more than 77,000 already completed. He is also funding a major future pipeline of additional homes beyond 2016. This year alone, more affordable homes are being built than in any other year since 1980.
The remaining half of the Mount Pleasant site will continue to be a postal sorting office, employing up to 3,200 people.

London is experiencing an unprecedented population boom and over the next few years a million more people will have to be housed. The Mayor has called in 12 planning applications since 2009 as he looks to use the full range of his planning powers to speed up the decision-making process so that it is possible to reach a verdict on these vitally-important applications in a timely fashion.

Planning permission is subject to the completion of a Section 106 Agreement.