Government prioritises housing development above logistics in London

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The Secretary of State has demanded that Mayor of London prioritise housing over industrial development in the Draft London Plan.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been lambasted in a letter from Robert Jenrick Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, over his failure to deliver homes across the capital during his tenure as Mayor. The Secretary of State invokes his right to exercise powers to direct changes.

“Due to the number of the inconsistencies with national policy and missed opportunities to increase housing delivery, I am exercising my powers under section 337 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 to direct that you cannot publish the London Plan until you have incorporated the Directions I have set out.”

In particular the Secretary of State points out that with regard to industrial land in the capital; “The Inspectors considered your industrial land policies to be unrealistic; taking an over-restrictive stance to hinder Boroughs’ abilities to choose more optimal uses for industrial sites where housing is in high demand.

“I am directing you to take a more proportionate stance – removing the ‘no net loss’ requirement on existing industrial land sites whilst ensuring Boroughs bring new industrial land into the supply.

In the draft plan there was set a strategic target of ‘no net loss of industrial capacity’ across London, with particular boroughs identified as areas where increased capacity could be accommodated, and others where limited and managed release through co-location, intensification and relocation could help deliver new homes.

Land for industry and logistics in London is already being lost at three times the anticipated level of release in the previous Mayor’s London Plan according to the GLA.

It is a massive issue especially for London not least because the logistics sector is vital in ensuring not only that London remains economically competitive but also to make sure that its residents and businesses continue to have access to the range of goods and services that they need on a daily basis.

In addition the British Property Federation  estimates in its research ‘What Warehousing Where?’ that for every house built there needs to be an additional 69 sq ft of warehouse space. The government is looking to secure some 1 million extra homes, which equates to 69 million sq ft of space required before you take into account the exponential growth of on-line shopping.”

Logistics property developers and consultants contacted have said the views of the Secretary of State are ‘short sighted’, ‘worrying’ and show a ‘lack of knowledge’ of the changes within the sector and why they are vital to London and indeed the greater UK.

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