Planning law changes renew Newham housing shortage fears

Newham has more than 6,000 approved homes still waiting to be built, recent figures show.

Development on the properties has halted or not even started in some cases, despite planning permission.

Figures released by the Local Government Association (LGA) show 6,393 houses have been signed off in the borough, but a brick has yet to be laid.

This is the second highest in London.

The government announced a shake-up of current planning laws, which stipulates that developers must build affordable housing.

This will be removed in early 2013 in an attempt to free housing firms from red tape and boost the economy.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Some of the proposals are controversial, others have been a long time in coming.

Most Read

“But along with our housing strategy, they provide a comprehensive plan to unleash one of the biggest homebuilding programmes this country has seen in a generation.”

But the move has been criticised by Labour London Assembly member John Biggs.

He said: “These (approvals) are stalled because banks aren’t lending to developers, and because house builders want to limit supply to push up prices and increase their profits.

“This is something the government can fix and isn’t.”

The most recent council figures show 28,000 people in Newham are currently on its waiting list.

This equates to about one fifth of the borough’s population.

Anchor House director Keith Fernett added: “Affordability does not mean what it used to mean. You are talking about having to have salaries of �50,000 plus to get into the housing market.”