London's mayoral race:
Key regeneration funding pledges
by Colin Marrs Wed 18th April 2012, 10:10 pm
With less than a month until London goes to the polls to elect its mayor for the next four years, we look at the promises the main three candidates are making to encourage innovative forms of regeneration funding.
The harsh economic climate is very different to that in which the past three London mayoral elections have been fought. However, since the post of London mayor was created in 2000, one thing has not changed - the large gap between the number of homes London needs and the number that exist. Housing, as in the past, is still a major political issue for Londoners, a situation reflected in all three of the main candidates’ manifestos.
In truth, there is a lot of common ground between the three candidates, with all three promising to encourage private investment in an attempt to provide affordable housing, and to maximise the use of Greater London Authority land holdings in this pursuit. Both ideas are a pragmatic recognition by candidates of the reduction in central government grants towards affordable housing, and reflect national policy.
However, despite this consensus, and a lack of detail in all three manifestos, it is still possible to discern degree of difference in the candidates’ approach to achieving these aims.
Incumbent Boris Johnson has been criticised for focusing on personalities rather than policies so far in the campaign. It is perhaps surprising then, that his manifesto is the most detailed of the candidates. Although much of the document is dedicated to listing the mayor’s “achievements” over the past four years, there is a lot of meat on the bones in terms of new proposals.
- Publish a list of all assets held by the GLA Group for the public, investors and developers to see and encourage other public land holders to do the same;
- Establish a single property unit for all land holdings held by the GLA Group in an attempt to speed up the release of land and reduce bureaucracy;
- Encourage build-to-let models involving long-term institutional investment. Johnson says he will work with central Government to explore incentives to unlock institutional investment in London, including investigating whether GLA land can be used to achieve the aim;
- Create a London Development Panel in partnership with boroughs and other public land holders, plus a framework panel from which site developers can be selected to avoid repeated procurement processes.
Livingstone believes that affordable housing is one of his strong suits, following his successes in raising the amount of housing provided through borough planning agreements during his last term in office. However, the introduction of the community infrastructure levy along with the new Affordable Rent model, combined with lower profit margins on new housing developments leave uncertainty over how successful those policies formulated during boom times can be.
- Release GLA land on a long-term equity share basis to housing associations and developers, on condition that they commit to a clear timetable for getting homes built and occupied;
- Support boroughs to build new council houses on council-owned land;
- Investigate new options for financing affordable homes, working with pension funds to encourage them to invest in affordable homes;
- Encourage Community Land Trusts and other forms of co-operative and mutual housing, along with modular homes that can be assembled in weeks;
- Re-establish affordable home targets of 50 per cent affordable, with 30 per cent for social rent. Set ambitious targets for family homes.
Paddick is better known for his views on policing in the capital, but he and his advisors clearly realise the importance of housing to the outcome of the mayoral race. Paddick goes further than the other two candidates in identifying a target for new homes a decade ahead.
- Establish a London Housing Company assemble public land and match it with private investment, aimed at building 360,000 homes over the next 10 years, levering in private investment;
- Offer smaller housing associations the ability to raise loan capital through a London Housing Bond;
- Introduce a “benchmark guideline” that half of new housing should be affordable, using a new GLA unit to negotiate tough planning agreements;
- Create more mayoral development corporations where needed to kick start housebuilding revolution;
- Create an extra 40,000 homes in the spaces above London shops.
Thu 23rd May 2013, 4:38 pm
Morgan Sindell Investments has signed contracts for £40 million of regeneration activity as part of its local asset backed vehicle owned jointly with Bournemouth Borough Council.
Tue 12th February 2013, 4:51 pm
Swindon Borough Council has voted to create a joint venture with a private developer for a large urban extension.
Tue 29th January 2013, 4:24 pm
Councils could use new freedoms to create a new model of stand-alone investment company to invest in infrastructure, according to SocInvest Thought Leader, law firm Pinsent Masons.