London Mayor Sadiq Khan has blasted Wandsworth Council’s decision to allow a reduction in the amount of affordable housing at the £9bn Battersea Power Station scheme.
A deed of variation was OK’d by planners last month, involving the introduction of a “review mechanism” and shifting affordable units around between phases, effectively green-lighting the lowering of the baseline from the original 686 to 386, or 9.1% of the total units being delivered.
This really hasn’t washed with Mayor Khan, who launched an extraordinary attack on the borough council in The Observer, accusing it of “waving through” the request. Referring to reports of the viability assessment showing projected profits of £1.8bn, he said…
“If these numbers are accurate, they seem to suggest that the council have had the wool pulled over their eyes – allowing themselves to be hoodwinked into cutting affordable housing while the developer’s profits remain strong.”
Despite requesting detailed info on the viability of the scheme when he first heard about the proposal, Khan said the council “failed to provide us with this information before deciding to send the application to planning committee for decision. I urgently wrote to the committee urging them to defer the decision until my recently appointed expert viability team had challenged the numbers, but my concerns fell on deaf ears and Wandsworth waved this shameful decision through.
“Londoners will therefore be rightly suspicious of the speed in which Wandsworth council rushed through the decision. I will continue to do everything within my power to get a grip on developers who unscrupulously navigate the viability system to try to boost their bottom line at the expense of building more affordable homes for Londoners.”