Winckworth Sherwood hosts a timely discussion on Housing Zones
Thu 25 Sep 2014
This week Winckworth Sherwood hosted a timely breakfast round table focusing on the proposed London Housing Zones. Representatives from large developers and registered providers across London heard from Richard Blakeway, the Deputy Mayor for Housing Land and Property in London, who presented a helpful overview of the recently published Prospectus.
The Housing Zones attempt to encourage the London Boroughs to find ways to increase the supply of housing within their areas, against a backdrop of only 4 Boroughs managing to produce more that 1,000 housing starts in the last 3 years, explained Richard. The response from the Boroughs so far has been very positive, and in one case it was encouraging to note that 2 Boroughs, who had not previously done so, were currently working on a joint bid.
Richard also stated that the London Housing Bank Prospectus would be published later this month, targeting large multi-phase schemes such as those that would be likely to be brought forward in the Housing Zones.
Karen Cooksley, Head of the Planning and Environment team at Winckworth Sherwood, who chaired the event, commented that it will be important to ensure that Boroughs have sufficient resources to deliver the benefits that are on offer in the Housing Zones as many Boroughs are already quite stretched in dealing with their current workloads.
Throughout the morning Richard answered a number of interesting questions from our audience on topics such as the importance of ensuring CIL contributions in the Housing Zones are locally targeted, the potential for large scale Private Rented Sector developments in the Housing Zones, how much grant funding might be available in the Housing Zones, and whether Modern Methods of Construction could be utilised in the Housing Zones.
Following the closing date for bids on the 30 September, Richard explained that there will be a lot of work to do to assess the bids and realistically we will probably not know which bids are successful until early 2015.
Richard expressed the hope that the Housing Zones might have a similar impact to the Enterprise Zone at Canary Wharf and it will be interesting to see whether developments of a comparable scale emerge out of the Housing Zones.