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GLA’s draft Affordable Housing SPG November 2016

Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG)

The SPG’s overarching aim to deliver more affordable housing and streamline the process is very positive. The move for greater openness and transparency in the viability process is also very much welcomed.

The SPG seeks to move towards a strategic target of 50% of all new homes being genuinely affordable.

It also sets out a target tenure split of 30:30:40 social rent: affordable rent/London living rent: LPA discretion. The SPG’s recognition of a wider variety of affordable housing tenures is very positive.

The guidelines propose a ‘threshold approach’ for viability where:

  • Route A: schemes that do not deliver the 35% affordable housing at the GLA’s expected tenure mix (as outlined above) on site will be subject to a full viability review. An early review will be required to encourage developers to start on site and a further ‘near end review’ where 75% of the homes are sold.
  • Route B: schemes that deliver 35% affordable housing (by habitable rooms) on site that meet the GLA’s proposed tenure mix will not have to go through the viability process.

Where schemes go through route B, they will be expected to comply with a prescriptive viability assessment process set out in the SPG.

The GLA are establishing an in house viability team to deal with those going through route B.

As London First have advocated, the SPG outlines support for higher densities in order that the 35% on site target is achieved. London First welcomes this.

Regarding viability, the move to more openness and transparency is very positive, however there are some issues around the mechanics which are still to be resolved.

The SPG’s support of build to rent is good news. As an emergent sector, build to rent will not be subject to the same threshold approach to viability. Each scheme will be assessed on its own merits.

The SPG is out for consultation until February 28, 2017. Read it here.


Affordable Housing Grant

This new programme intends to deliver an increase in the volume of affordable housing in London and provides a higher grant rate to support a wider variety of tenures than the previous settlement.

Grant funding is available via two routes.

Route 1 – For approved providers who:

  • Ensure that at least half of their London housing starting between April 2015 and March 2021 are affordable homes;
  • Deliver their programme on sites controlled by them or by joint-ventures in which they have at least a 50% share; and
  • Intend to, either individually or as part of a consortium, own the completed affordable homes.

Route 2 – For developers who:

  • Deliver over 35% of affordable housing, a grant of £28,000 per unit is available on every additional affordable unit.
  • Deliver over 40% affordable housing on their schemes, a grant of £28,000 per unit is available for every affordable unit on the development.

The first window for grant submissions runs 31 Jan 2017- 13 April 2017

London First and the GLA will be running a consultation breakfast with the SPG on Friday 10 February. See our events page for details.

Contact, Steve Cole:



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