Wandsworth Council Wants Half of New Homes to Be 'Affordable'

New Local Plan would set ambitious target

The council's Gideon Road development
The council's Gideon Road development

October 3, 2023

Wandsworth Council is proposing a policy change to require at least half of homes on all new developments to be classed as affordable in a bid to tackle its housing waiting list. The borough will carry out a partial review of its Local Plan for 2023 to 2038, which is the main document used to make decisions on planning applications in the borough.

The council said the proposals would respond to the shortage of genuinely affordable homes in the borough by driving up the number of those provided at social rent on future developments. There were 11,860 households on the council’s housing waiting list as of March this year.

The move follows Labour winning control of the council from the Conservatives for the first time in 44 years in May 2022. The authority, under the previous administration, held a public consultation on the first draft of the Local Plan in 2021, followed by another in January to February 2022 after it was updated, and the final version was adopted in July this year.

The council’s partial review of the Local Plan includes proposals to increase the percentage of affordable housing required on new property developments from 35pc to 50pc, along with seeking a 70/30 split in favour of social rent. Social rents are set using a government formula, which takes account of the relative value of the property, its size and relative local income levels.

The council is also proposing to set a new rule that even small developments of fewer than 10 homes must include affordable housing where at present they don’t have to. Residents will be asked for their views on the proposals as part of the review.

Labour council leader Simon Hogg said, “A decent, genuinely affordable place to call home is the foundation of a good life. Sadly, the cost of housing is a serious burden for too many households.

“For too long Wandsworth Council’s priority has been on expensive homes which are out of reach for local residents. We want to change this – residents’ needs, and their views, will be at the heart of our considerations. The council’s top priority is the delivery of genuinely affordable homes for local families.”

Labour councillor Aydin Dikerdem, cabinet member for housing, said, “We are already building 1,000 new council homes on our own land through our Homes for Wandsworth plan – and introducing landlord licensing to protect renters. Now we are seeking to ensure property developers contribute towards our vision of a fairer borough for all. Thousands of children in Wandsworth grow up in temporary accommodation and that is why we are urgently seeking social rented homes that give them security for the long-term.”

Charlotte Lilywhite - Local Democracy Reporter