NEW HOMES STALL IN FACE OF LOOMING LONDON ELECTIONS

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1 STRICTLY UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL 00:01 THURSDAY 28 TH APRIL 2016 NEW HOMES STALL IN FACE OF LOOMING LONDON ELECTIONS London boroughs approve just 4,320 new homes in Q a huge 64% pre-election drop from Q in 10 new homes are rejected in Q the highest rate for a year as permissions for new builds stall Westminster grants the most new homes in Q (626), but Southwark is most lenient, allowing 97% Richmond once again proves least proactive council, granting just 11 new homes across the whole of Q1 As London braces for mayoral elections, approvals for new homes dropped by 64% from the same point a year ago, as just 4,320 homes across the capital were granted permission in Q1 2016, according to the latest London New Homes Monitor from Stirling Ackroyd. On an annualised basis this would result in a total of 17,290 new homes granted approval by London s planning authorities per year well behind the estimated 50,000 Stirling Ackroyd have calculated are needed per year to house London s growing population. 1 By comparison, in Q1 2015, planning departments gave permission for 11,870 new homes across London, or an annualised rate of 47,460. Not only are planning approvals down across the final full quarter before the mayoral election, the number of applications from developers also fell, particularly on an annual basis. Q saw planning applications for a potential 7,050 new homes, significantly behind the 14,400 potential new homes possible in Q Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd, comments: It s a sluggish and disappointing start to 2016, which should be a year of real progress. In an election year, the most frustrating side to the slow pace of planning 1 See the Stirling Ackroyd New Build Bible 1

2 departments is that London has the drive, capacity and ability to take control of its housing problems. Londoners want change. And if you believe all the mayoral candidates speeches everyone wants a positive outcome too. But change isn t happening. The number of homes are falling to new lows, contributing to a completely unfair and immoral housing shortfall. On the streets of the capital, homes are the top concern and yet this isn t being heard. Housing is politically fashionable but sadly not politically practical. As the Chancellor demonstrated in the Budget last month, housebuilding can slide down the agenda quickly. It s imperative this slide doesn t happen this summer after the new Mayor takes office in City Hall. There s no easy fix, and building alone isn t sufficient to get people on the homeownership ladder. But enough new homes are a necessary starting point that is still so far away from reality. More homes bring more options. For those locked out of London every small improvement helps. But planning is the blockage. Unless all planning officials embrace a pragmatic approach to divvying up London s space the housing deficit will only worsen. 4 in 10 new homes rejected across Greater London London boroughs rejected 4 out of every 10 possible new homes in the first quarter, meaning all boroughs together approved a proportion of just 61% of potential new homes across Q compared to an allowance rate of 82% in Q In proportional terms, Southwark is the most liberal borough for planning, approving 97% of homes mentioned in planning applications in Q managing to equal its Q proportion. By the same measure, Westminster also performed well granting approval to 95% of new home applications across the quarter. It was closely followed by Barking & Dagenham and Kensington & Chelsea, both of which allowed 94% of all planning applications for new homes. However, for Havering it was a very different story. The outer borough approved just 10% of all new homes mentioned in applications across the three month period. And another eastern borough, Bromley, granted a similarly disappointing proportion of 27%. Proportion of new homes given full planning permission, Q

3 Hammersmith & Fulham saw only 17% of applications receiving approval in Q1 placing it second only to Havering (allowing just 10% of possible homes) among the most sceptical boroughs for new homes. Andrew Bridges continues, London is selling itself short the proportion of approvals across the capital is far too low. For developers and prospective homeowners and builders, there s mixed messages about planning leniency. Many promises have been made to overhaul planning within London and put an end to unnecessary delays but little has actually been done. It s a difficult task but what the capital needs is a coherent and measured plan, which every council can follow, and one which prioritises every opportunity for new homes. Of course, planners are needed. It s a massive dilemma of how to balance development with local concerns. Communities will naturally always be concerned about the impact developments might have upon the local area and landscape. But for just 10% of applications to be accepted in Havering, if this was applied to the whole of London, would be entirely unsustainable. The capital is in crisis. A housing shortfall has been a prolonged problem in London but as population levels keep on growing it s getting increasingly serious. And so far, no one, and certainly no mayoral hopefuls, are really waking up to this fact. Westminster wins in the planning stakes Westminster, perhaps unexpectedly, is leading the way when it comes to tackling London s housing crisis in Leading by example, the borough approved in absolute terms a total of 626 new homes. This improvement has been fuelled by demand for high-volume developments within the central borough. Westminster has seen a marked improvement from Q1 2015, when it accounted for just 193 applications for new homes successfully granted. Number of new homes given full planning permission, Q Westminster is closely followed by Enfield with the North London borough approving applications accounting for 520 new homes out of a possible 615 across the first three months of Traditionally amongst the strictest boroughs, Enfield across the whole of 3

4 2015 approved just 859 new homes, out of a possible 1448, suggesting local planning officials may be embracing a new approach to decision making. Finally, approving the third highest number of new home applications is Barking and Dagenham approving 379 new homes applications. In Q1 2015, the borough granted just eight. Richmond, meanwhile saw the fewest number of new homes approved across the quarter, with just 11 new homes given approval even lower than the 31 permitted in Q Over the last four quarters as a whole, Barnet and Westminster allowed the most new homes in absolute terms with approval for 2,662 and 2,022 homes respectively. Hammersmith and Fulham performed much better over this fourquarter basis (allowing 1,875 homes) followed by Greenwich which permitted 1,758 homes over the twelve months to 1 st April. At the other end of this spectrum, Richmond upon Thames was the worst borough on a four-quarter basis as well as in Q individually. Over the last twelve months Zach Goldsmith s home borough has allowed just 120 homes permitting an average of just one home every three days. Andrew Bridges concludes, London s planning patchwork can be volatile. Westminster is the unexpected hero of 2016 so far and is soaring ahead in approving the highest number of new homes. Westminster s centrality is an instant draw for developers but many have been off-put by the borough s reputation for its uncompromising planning policy. In a sense, Westminster is a success. But an alternative view is that it s the best borough of a bad bunch. Overall the number of homes allowed is far too low and normally it s the east of the capital which carries the weight of new homes approvals. But even London s eastern boroughs are struggling to reach the approval levels needed. Remaining scepticism about large developments may explain the drop, but a similar fall in the possible number of applications could also be suggestive of a reluctance to change the planning system. Fundamentally, more needs to be done to encourage developers and self-builds. Next week London will go to the polls to choose a candidate for the next four years. Hopefully, regardless of party political lines, the winning candidate will be able to shift the dial much more significantly and prepare London s housing landscape for the 2020s. - ENDS - NOTES TO EDITORS See appendices below for summary data plus full-page illustrations About Stirling Ackroyd: Stirling Ackroyd is an independent firm of specialist estate agents operating across Central London and the City fringes. Since its incorporation in 1987, Stirling Ackroyd s branch network has expanded to include Bankside, the West End, Clerkenwell, Hackney and Shoreditch. 4

5 For further information please contact: Olivia Redmond or Adam Kirby Instinctif Partners Laura Feldman, Marketing Manager Stirling Ackroyd New Homes Monitor Methodology: Figures presented here are produced via a central model produced by Instinctif Partners, on behalf of Stirling Ackroyd. Data is collated from a variety of sources, including the Department for Communities and Local Government, Office for National Statistics and each of London s 33 boroughs including the City of London. Consideration of over 10,000 planning applications per quarter is on the basis of final decisions and appeals granted on full planning applications. Given the mostly manual nature of this analysis, borough councils are encouraged to lodge any advice or corrections using the contact details above. APPENDICES OVERLEAF: I DETAILED SUMMARY DATA, Q II FULL SCALE MAPS 5

6 APPENDIX I: SUMMARY DATA, Q BOROUGH POTENTIAL HOMES IN PLANNING DECISIONS PROPORTION OF HOMES APPROVED HOMES APPROVED Barking and Dagenham % 379 Barnet % 274 Bexley % 134 Brent % 96 Bromley % 49 Camden 84 68% 57 City of London Croydon % 215 Ealing % 120 Enfield % 520 Greenwich 45 49% 22 Hackney % 73 Hammersmith and Fulham % 72 Haringey % 102 Harrow 69 50% 35 Havering % 37 Hillingdon % 222 Hounslow % 67 Islington % 83 Kensington and Chelsea 49 94% 46 Kingston upon Thames 99 40% 40 Lambeth % 47 Lewisham % 101 Merton % 112 Newham 95 45% 43 Redbridge 73 38% 28 Richmond upon Thames 26 42% 11 Southwark % 318 Sutton % 64 Tower Hamlets % 211 Waltham Forest % 65 Wandsworth 76 70% 53 Westminster % 626 GREATER LONDON 7,050 61% 4,320 GREATER LONDON (ANNUALISED) 28,190-17,290 6

7 APPENDIX II: FULL SCALE MAPS Number of new homes given planning permission by London s borough councils, Q

8 Proportion of new homes given planning permission by borough councils, Q

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