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Council green-lights plans for sustainable development in Southwark

24 February 2022

Southwark Council has approved the planning blueprint that sets out how new development will benefit local communities and help tackle its urgent priorities – including the housing crisis and the Climate Emergency – over the next 15 years.

The Southwark Plan brings together all of the council’s planning policies and strategic targets for new homes, new jobs, open space and different types of development, while preserving and celebrating the borough’s history and heritage.

Key policies address the urgent need for new homes that local people can genuinely afford. This includes placing strong requirements on developers to build social rent homes, in addition to the council’s work building thousands more council homes. On top of the requirement that 35 per cent of new homes within any scheme must be affordable, the Plan introduces a new fast-track process for developments delivering 40 per cent or more social rented and intermediate rent homes.

Now adopted by the council, the Plan will:

  • require that a minimum of 35 per cent of any new housing is affordable across all schemes, now including student accommodation and sites where smaller numbers of houses are being built
  • designate 22 new sites of importance for nature conservation and the equivalent of over 16 full-sized football fields of newly protected open space
  • require that all new developments have to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand (known as Biodiversity Net Gain)
  • support the creation of 58,000 new jobs, including a green new deal that generates jobs
  • ensure that within developments of a certain size or made up of employment workspace, at least 10 per cent or more of the floorspace must be affordable

Cllr Helen Dennis, cabinet member for climate emergency and sustainable development, said: “The Southwark Plan underlines our proud commitment as a council to deliver genuinely affordable housing, create new jobs for local residents, and tackle the Climate Emergency. It has been many years in the making, including hundreds of conversations with the community over multiple consultations, and I’m delighted by its adoption.

“The new policies and area visions are designed to make Southwark a fairer place to live and work. We have over 16,500 households on our waiting list for a council home. So we are particularly proud that our plan sets firm requirements on developers to build truly affordable homes, including new social rent homes. We have extended these requirements so they now cover smaller sites and student accommodation, and we have introduced a new fast-track mechanism to speed up schemes that go above and beyond the 35 per cent minimum affordable housing requirement. We have also laid out clear expectations around more affordable workspace to support small businesses and the local economy within the borough.

“Our plan sets new green standards that are higher than ever before, outstripping national climate targets and going further than the London Plan in requiring new developments to deliver major on-site carbon savings. Southwark Council has already been independently rated as one of the top two councils in London for our work to tackle the Climate Emergency and our ambition with the Southwark Plan is no different. We will now be undertaking further work this year to make our carbon reduction polices even stronger, in line with our Climate Emergency declaration."

Page last updated: 24 February 2022