A new council policy will insist six in every ten new affordable homes built in Westminster are for middle-income families.
This comes as Westminster City Council has set out its ambition to build 1,495 new homes every year, nearly 50 per cent higher than required under the Mayor of London’s “London Plan”. This underlines the council’s commitment to deliver the most ambitious house building programme and the homes its residents need.
Currently the majority of homes in Westminster are out of reach for average earners with just 1.5 per cent of homes classed as ‘intermediate’ - at least below 20 per cent below market rent.
Councils across London prioritise social housing, which already make up 25 per cent of Westminster homes. It's a trend that leaves most average earners unable to find a place to live in the city.
Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Planning and Public Realm Cllr Richard Beddoe said:
“We’re proud that one in four of our homes are social housing, but as a city for all we’re determined to create homes for our residents, especially average earners and middle income families.
“We’ve laid down the gauntlet for developers by introducing less restrictive rules. Now they need to do their bit and provide the homes for the working families who keep our city moving. Providing social housing remains a priority but the lack of intermediate homes must be addressed.”
The change in emphasis to focus on immediate housing will ensure Westminster provides homes for a cross section of the community, not simply the richest and poorest.
The revised housing target of building 1,495 new homes every year matches that set by Government under the standard methodology set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPFF). The council has also confirmed its intention to make sure 35 per cent of these new homes are affordable to a range of incomes.
Developers will also be urged to be more imaginative in creating high-quality affordable home, by looking at modern methods of construction such as modular homes where suitable.
The council is now consulting on its draft City Plan which sets out a blueprint for how Westminster will enter the next few decades in a strong and competitive position.
The newly published plan focuses on three key themes, creating more affordable homes, the right environment for business growth and more open, green spaces to enjoy.
It is no secret that Westminster suffers from some of the worst pollution. It is the biggest concern among residents and a leading priority for the council. Under the City Plan the council will create more green and open space as well as ensuring new major developments are air quality neutral. We will continue to support the roll-out of electric vehicle charging points to encourage the move away from petrol and diesel cars with all developments which generate a car parking spaces required to provide some electric vehicle charging points.
With 120,000 businesses employing 650,000 workers Westminster is the engine room of the UK economy but the city’s success depends on delivering sustainable growth and addressing trends which threaten the city’s status as a global centre for business. The City Plan sets out to build on Westminster’s existing reputation as a globally renowned business centre -encouraging and attracting the delivery of enough new business floor space to accommodate 75,000 new jobs.
City Plan 2019 – 2040 is an ambitious strategy to make this city the best place to live, work and play. For more information, visit www.westminster.gov.uk/cityplan2040.