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G15 to Gove: London housebuilding ‘grinding to a halt’

Michael Gove on Awaab's Law

G15 housing association chiefs have warned Housing Secretary Michael Gove that housebuilding in London is “grinding to a halt,” with the number of affordable homes being built falling by three-quarters in the last 12 months.

In a letter to Gove the G15, which represents the capital’s 11 largest housing associations, said his policies did not go far enough to increase supply and called for an injection of billions of pounds into an affordable homes building programme.

The letter also claimed that G15 members, traditionally the capital’s biggest builders of affordable homes, are on track to start building just 1,769 homes in the capital this year, a fall of 76% compared with the 7,363 started in 2022-23.

This week Gove announced a series of proposals he said were aimed at increasing housing development, particularly in urban areas.

One of the most significant changes was an overhaul of the planning system that would make it easier for developers to secure permission to build on brownfield sites in cities and towns.

It came alongside the publication of a government-commissioned review looking at the London plan, proposals from the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, that set out a framework for development in the capital over the next 25 years.

The review said the plan “frustrated” the delivery of homes on brownfield land, and said the new proposals could increase supply by 4,000 homes each year. Khan has rejected the review as “nothing more than a stunt”.

The letter to Gove, which was signed by the G15 chair, Fiona Fletcher-Smith, who is also chief executive of L&Q Group, said that while the policies were welcome, they would not meet the scale of need in London.

It said: “Your recent interventions do not go far enough to address what, by your own admission, is a broken system. Despite the crisis facing Londoners, the government has failed to step up and invest in the delivery of social housing.”

The G15 members own and manage more than 770,000 homes, and are responsible for building about 15% of all new affordable homes across the country.

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