Sadiq Khan responds to DLUHC’s Review of the London Plan

Earlier this month, Christopher Katkowski KC published a review into the London Plan, ordered by Michael Gove MP in December 2023.

In the 46-page report, Katkowski outlined a number of issues with the London Plan that were making it more difficult to fulfil the government target to expand development on brownfield sites. The review stated that:

  • The combined effect of policies in the London Plan ‘frustrated rather than facilitated the delivery of new homes.’
  • Due to the current London Plan, ‘the application process for developments is expensive and time-consuming.’
  • Without changes, the London Plan will not meet its housing targets in the 10-year period, with an estimated 150,000 dwelling shortfall.
  • The review did specify that the London Plan was not the sole reason for the shortfall, pointing to issues such as the economy, planning resources, and fire safety.

A letter released alongside the review, written by Gove, outlined that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities would be ‘seeking views on whether changes are required to the threshold at which a residential planning application is referrable to you as the Mayor of London, which is currently set at 150 homes or more.’

Gove further stated that ‘The Government will not hesitate to go further, making sure that our capital city has the housing it needs.’

Sadiq Khan responded to this review; his spokesperson stated that ‘The facts are clear – London under Sadiq Khan is outbuilding the rest of the country. Housing completions in the capital have hit the highest level since the 1930s, according to the Government’s own data.’

Khan’s spokesperson continued ‘London is also delivering twice the level of council homebuilding as the rest of the country combined, showing up ministers’ dismal failure nationally’ and stated that Khan would not ‘take lectures from a government that has scrapped housing targets nationally and sent people’s rents and mortgages soaring”.

The housing crisis in London is particularly serious and changes will have to be made but the timing of this review will raise eyebrows. With a particularly close mayoral election coming up in May, the Conservatives will highlight the weaknesses of Sadiq Khan who is already facing controversies and unpopularity.

If the Conservatives can get their candidate, Susan Hall, into the Mayor’s office through criticising Khan’s planning record with housing statistics, it will put them in good stead to raise doubts about the Labour Party’s national planning policy promises with local elections and a General Election approaching.

Author: Edward Poynton

Previous Articles