Supporting Higher Education in London

Affordable student housing in London

The Mayor’s London Plan outlines the overall strategic plan for London and sets out an integrated framework for economic development.  Student housing is an area covered by the London Plan since purpose built housing for students can reduce the demand for other types of accommodation.  The Academic Forum was formed by the GLA in 2013 bringing together representatives from the HE sector, the NUS, local authorities and private developers.  The aim was to arrive at a consensus on issues such as rent levels, dispersal of new developments and projected demand for bed spaces.  Eventually in March 2015 a policy for affordable student accommodation was specifically detailed in the updated London Plan (see paragraph 3.53B in Chapter 3).  Supplementary Planning Guidance issued to all London boroughs in March 2016 contained guidance for implementing this policy when considering applications for new student housing developments.  Since December 2016 the Academic Forum has been working on the next iteration of the London Plan, looking at how the affordable rent policy may be modified and revisiting projections for bed spaces.

It was a long, long road before we got to the stage in 2015 when a policy on affordable rents was officially published in the London Plan. During this time we coordinated membership of eight HEIs to the Forum, as well as representing the diverse range of HEIs at the meetings.  We also arranged workshops to collate pan-London responses for two consultations which came up during the drafting of the Plan.