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The New Southwark Plan

26 February 2019

This past month we published amendments to our New Southwark Plan, which are out for consultation until May 2019. One question that’s often asked is what the need for a plan is. 

Southwark is a vibrant place to live, with record levels of employment, award winning libraries, new theatres and high attaining schools.

But as councillors we also see another Southwark: a borough where due to the housing crisis over 10,000 households are on our waiting list, and those within the Private Rented Sector are at the mercy of rising rents and a largely unregulated market where a minority of bad landlords can inflict poor standards on their tenants.  A place where if you’re a young person and you have an idea to set up a small business and need space, too often this isn’t available at an affordable rate. And a place where local residents have legitimate questions about the pace of change and what it will mean for their treasured building which may not be listed but is part of the fabric of the community.

We see these challenges and that’s why when we went to the electorate in May we made a commitment to building on our work over the last eight years to deliver a fairer future for all, and a place where everyone can feel they belong. We also know Southwark is not alone in these challenges - nine years of a hopeless Tory government has meant that as a country we are significantly behind on delivering the new council homes needed with an additional 3.1 million needed to be delivered over the next 20 years.

So what is our response to these challenges?

In addition to our ambitious council homes building programme, the amended New Southwark Plan details how we will encourage new schemes to see our policy on affordable housing as the minimum and not the maximum. Our newly introduced Fast Track process means that our policies actively encourage schemes to come forward with proposals for at least 40% affordable housing on a policy compliant mix. We hope this will be the catalyst to see to see even more schemes coming forward with an above policy number of social rent and intermediate housing.

So in the years to come we will be able to say to more families on our housing waiting list, we’re able to help.

To that young person with the idea to set up a small business, with the introduction of an affordable workspace policy across the borough we will be increasingly able to say, we’re able to help.

And to the community group worried about what plans could mean for much loved building: we are committed to working with you, and our Local List will be a policy requirement for developers to take into account locally listed buildings and structures. In addition to amendments within the New Southwark Plan we will shortly be developing Heritage Supplementary Plan Document to flesh out the policy. We treasure that our borough is as diverse as it is vibrant, and this Labour administration is particularly proud to introduce a New Travellers and Gypsies policy.

We know the amendments to the New Southwark Plan will be an important step in ensuring our borough is one where all are able live and thrive, with more affordable housing and workspaces, and opportunities for all residents to have their say.  However, these challenges are not unique to Southwark, so to truly address these issues we need change on a national scale, which can only be achieved by a Labour Government.  


We’re really keen to hear from as many people as possible, so please click here to take part in the council’s ongoing consultation. 


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