The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has outlined his plans for ‘a new generation of social housing’ in the capital through his new £4 billion Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
The 2021-26 AHP will run alongside the current 2016-23 AHP and is geared towards building ‘safe, green, well-designed social housing’.
Over half of the new AHP will be used to fund new homes for social rent to meet London’s acute need for low-cost rented homes.
Together, the two Affordable Homes Programmes will help deliver 82,000 new homes in London starting from April next year.
Khan commented: “Despite significant progress over the last four years to build the homes our city needs, the reality is too many Londoners still can’t afford a decent home to rent or buy. This is why I have put the twin goals of affordability and quality at the centre of my new Affordable Homes Programme.
“All Londoners deserve a safe, secure home with enough space to live comfortably, and private outside space to enjoy fresh air. I want to deliver a new generation of social housing in London that sets the standard nationally when it comes to excellent design, safety and sustainability.
“Despite government ministers failing to provide London with the full funding our city needs, I’m determined to help build the high quality, genuinely affordable homes that Londoners so desperately need and deserve.”
Homes built using the new AHP will be expected to meet strict environmental sustainability standards to support London’s target of becoming a zero-carbon city by 2030.
Under the new standards, all developments of 10 or more homes must be net zero-carbon and must also incorporate sustainable green spaces.
Housing providers bidding for funds from the new AHP will also have to meet new building safety and design conditions. These include installing sprinklers in new blocks of flats, a ban on combustible cladding for all residential developments, and minimum floor-to-ceiling heights.
Providers must also meet new equality, diversity and inclusion standards such as a commitment to recruiting from diverse and under-represented groups. Housing associations will also be expected to share details of their gender and ethnicity pay gaps.
Khan has called for more government funding for affordable homes in London. Research published last year by the Greater London Assembly and the G15 – the group of London’s largest housing associations – showed that the city needs £4.9 million per year from 2022 to 2032 to meet its affordable housing need.
Helen Evans, chair of the G15 and chief executive of Network Homes, said: “Whilst the G15 strongly support the mayor’s ambitions for the programme, there are many factors including building safety remediation costs and the economic outlook which may influence our appetite for this programme.
“We welcome the clarity on the bidding process in the guidance, which will help our members’ plans for the future delivery of new affordable homes in the capital.”
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ executive member for housing and planning, said: “In the face of London’s continuing housing crisis, we urgently need more affordable homes in London – especially social housing.
“It’s good to see the progress being made in boosting delivery and London boroughs are determined to play our part in making this happen. We want to see quality – as well as quantity – in the new homes built in our communities.
“We support this push for a new generation of affordable homes that London can be proud of.”
The new AHP continues Khan’s campaign to build more affordable homes in London. London started its highest number of ‘genuinely affordable’ homes last year since records began in 2003, including a greater number of new council homes than in any year since 1983.