Boris lauds Barking Riverside

By Jim Dunton - Wed 27 November 2013, 12:30 pm

London Mayor Boris Johnson has placed Barking Riverside at the vanguard of a wave of "21st Century garden suburbs" that he views as crucial for meeting the capital's housing needs in the decades to come.

Johnson cited the under-construction 10,800-home development as an exemplar of the kind of sites that will be key for the Greater London Authority’s aim of creating 42,000 new homes a year in the capital over the next two and a half decades.

He said that facilitating the release of vacant public land for housing development and long-term partnerships with the private sector - as happened with Barking Riverside, which is being built on the site of a former power station - was a core element of his just-launched Homes  for London housing strategy.

"For over 30 years, regardless of boom and bust, governments of every hue have failed to build enough homes,” he said.

“With London's unprecedented population growth, housing supply and affordability is now our biggest challenge and we need to double the number of homes being built.   

"This requires a radical shift in how we prioritise housing to ensure we do not compromise our economic growth, and a collective effort from City Hall, government, and industry to treat housing as an essential infrastructure.

"We are overseeing the largest release of public land for a generation to ensure we maximize housing supply.“

Johnson’s Draft London Housing Strategy also proposes the creation of 10 Enterprise Zone-style “Housing Zones” where resources would be targeted intensively using tax and planning incentives to accelerate construction.

According to the strategy, the zones would be picked from the capital’s existing 33 opportunity areas for housing development.

Johnson also proposes the creation of a Housing Bank for the capital, which could underwrite major developments and potentially buy off-plan homes for open-market rent, which could subsequently be sold on.

The housing strategy is open for consultation until February next year.

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