Councils raise concerns about 'development tax'

Published: Monday 25th September 17

Wandsworth and Lambeth councils have criticised proposals by the Mayor of London that they believe could put at risk new homes for low cost rent and shared ownership, as well as the Northern Line extension.

A tax on all new development in the capital has been used by City Hall to pay for Crossrail since 2012, but from April 2019 it is proposed by the Greater London Authority (GLA) that boroughs including Wandsworth will see increases from between 23% to 184%.

A report going to the council’s Executive on 29 September outlines how this would ostensibly pay for Crossrail 2, although the Government has yet to decide whether or not to proceed with the Surrey-London-Hertfordshire rail link, which could have a station at Clapham Junction.  

While Crossrail 2 remains an uncertain prospect for at least the next few years, the Mayor’s plans enable him to spend the money raised on unspecified infrastructure projects.

The report warns that on-site provision of new homes for low cost rent and shared ownership could be reduced due to the higher Mayoral levy, as would new job-creating business space at Nine Elms, which would incur new central London charges.

As a result, there could also be less funding provided from new developments at Nine Elms to local infrastructure, including the Northern Line extension and two new Tube stations. 

Both Wandsworth and Lambeth councils have written to the Mayor to voice strong opposition.

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council, said: “On this issue Wandsworth and Lambeth are united in opposition to the Mayor’s proposals.

"The Northern Line extension, two new Tube stations, and 4,000 new housing association homes, parks, health centres and schools, in fact all the community benefits carefully negotiated for Nine Elms would have never made it off the drawing board had such a burden been in place at the time, and this is what is now being put at risk by the Mayor’s plans.

"We also have no idea how he may spend this tax hike in the meantime while Crossrail 2 remains an uncertainty for at least the next few years.”

Further consultation is expected in early 2018, with a public examination of the policy taking place in autumn later that year. 

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Recent comments

Battersea Power Station development have already slashed the number of ‘affordable’ homes by 40%. A moved agreed by Wandsworth Council. Nothing to do with the Mayor.
Paula Walker

3 October 2017

These proposals still have to undergo public examination and further consultation in 12 months time. Whilst "affordable" housing is welcome in some quarters, it does not do much to help those in the poorer sections of society. The Levy is also used for amenity needs, so an increase could help communities. However, it should not be spent on projects like the foot bridge, when there is a need for medical centres and youth facilities. Developers make profits. Maybe they are not yet putting enough into the community. Worth considering, at least.
susan lofthouse

27 September 2017