Sadiq Khan's hopes of forcing developers to build up affordable homes on former Transport for London property have been put in doubt by requirements on getting value for money on land deals.
Khan was elected on a pledge of making sure that half of new homes would be affordable, and the sale of TfL land has been a critical part of this plan, both funding his high-profile fee freeze, and freeing up land for construction.
However, new City Hall documents have revealed doubts over whether the Mayor can sell off the land, while complying with requirements on value for money.
A Mayoral Decision notice, handed down by City Hall civil servants states that when selling off land, TfL is obliged to act “as if it were a company engaged in a commercial enterprise”.
“As the development of the land with 50% affordable housing will lead to less than the maximum return available and reduce TfL’s financial return, TfL would not itself be able to develop the land in line with the Mayor’s aspirations for affordable housing,” the notice said.
Greater London Assembly Conservatives transport spokesman Keith Prince “Selling Transport for London’s land with a massive 50% affordable housing requirement ensures it will be sold for well under market value.
“Sadiq should have checked if selling TfL land for under market value was legal before promising this requirement, as all bodies have to achieve best value when selling public property.”
Prince added: “The Mayor should face facts and ditch this affordable housing requirement before he bankrupts TfL any further.”
City Hall declined to comment on the notice but reiterated Khan's plans.
A spokesperson said:
Sadiq has asked TfL to deliver 50 per cent affordable housing across their portfolio of sites and to balance this with a need to boost income.
This land at Kidbrooke lay largely unused for the previous Mayor’s entire time in office, but under the new Mayor’s direction will now both generate income for TfL and see hundreds of new homes built – half of which will be affordable homes for Londoners to rent and buy.