Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has approved a high-rise development at the Elephant & Castle which has no on-site affordable housing - but has insisted that the proposed roof terrace remains open to the public free of charge in perpetuity.
Last July Southwark councillors approved plans for 408 private flats in buildings up to 40 storeys high to be located on the site of Skipton House next to Elephant & Castle's Bakerloo line tube station.
There will be no on-site affordable housing but the developers London & Regional Properties have pledged to construct affordable housing to the value of £16.8 million elsewhere in the borough of Southwark.
The developers claimed that by providing the affordable housing off-site, they were able to offer four times as much as would be possible if it was built on the same plot of land as the private homes.
Just before Christmas the scheme was considered by the Mayor of London who decided not to exercise his power to 'take over' the planning application himself.
Mr Khan wrote to Southwark Council planners on 12 December: "... I wish to emphasise that the low level of affordable housing in this case is only acceptable due to a unique set of viability circumstances and wider proposed public benefits".
The Mayor said that the inclusion of a public roof garden on top of one of the towers was "a key part of my consideration" and that it is "essential" that the terrace remains a "free-of-charge publicly accessible space of the lifetime of the development" and be "protected from encroachment" by retail and other commercial activity.
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