Posted Oct 7 2022 | By Jo McCafferty

NLA Expert Panel on Housing: delivering the quantity and quality of housing Londoners need

I am looking forward to chairing the New London Architecture (NLA) Expert Panel on Housing for the third year in a row.

The panel made great progress over the past 12 months, dissecting housing under three key themes: people, place and planet. From our initial introductory session, the topics of empowerment, choice and stewardship emerged as central to successful long-term regeneration. This led us to scrutinise the residential ballot process and gather best practice from our collective experience, to encourage equality across boroughs and give clarity to a policy which was intended to deeply empower communities and give a voice to all those at the threshold of change in their own neighbourhood.

The panel visited South Thamesmead to see the large-scale regeneration programme Peabody has underway. As part of the visit, we learnt more about the public ballot held just before the first lockdown in 2020. Five key recommendations for future ballot processes across London were identified covering the themes of eligibility, engagement methods and the transparency of the ballot process.

A working group focused on GLA Housing Standards examined the draft guidance and met with the GLA for a productive discussion. Much of the new London Plan guidance was welcomed, with the discussion focusing on quality requirements and targets and the key aspects of housing layout, resilience to climate change and how meeting the higher advisory guidance could be incentivised by additional GLA grant funding.

On the final theme of ‘planet’, the panel explored recommendations to help remove barriers to achieving zero carbon homes. Viability challenges and the 'pricing in' of risk due to skills shortages, supply chain issues and rapidly rising material costs in construction were analysed as part of this session, and we all agreed knowledge sharing was a crucial component of rapid upskilling across the industry. It was also agreed that consistency of approach, targets and policy were crucial across London – and a key issue for the Mayor to address.

Thank you to everyone who has committed so much time to these valuable sessions – across the year, we have established some key topics to be targeted in the New London Agenda. I look forward to drafting these with the new panel, where I’ll be joined by housing specialists across the industry from BDP, BECG, Be First, City of Westminster, GLA, Hackney Council, L&Q, Lendlease, LB Lewisham, London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), Maccreanor Lavingon, Montagu Evans, Morris+Company, Peabody, Pocket Living, Pollard Thomas Edwards and Turley.

The Expert Panel on Housing will continue to examine housing in London through the three key themes of people, place and planet. Our focus is making sure we deliver the quality and quantity of housing Londoners need. Learn more about the panel here.