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More time needed to tackle London housing backlog

London mayor Boris Johnson has doubled the time in which he aims to tackle the capital's housing backlog from ten to 20 years.The Greater London Authority says the housing targets set in the draft Further Alterations to the London Plan fall short of meeting the capital's needs. If housing targets are to be met, the capital must become denser. The planning committee met this morning (March 11th) to address fundamental questions relating to housing density, such as how it is measured and whether London can meet demand without turning into a high-rise city.Nicky Gavron, chair of the planning committee, said: "London is a relatively low-density city and it will need to become denser to accommodate our rapidly growing population. "The planning committee will ask how we can do that without sacrificing the character of our built environment, and ensuring we get high-quality new homes in mixed developments with the infrastructure and amenity needed to make them pleasant and practical places to live." Housing in London made headlines recently when Ernst and Young's ITEM Club warned that a bubble may be developing in the capital's property market. It said the average price of a home in the city could reach £600,000 by 2018.Ed Miliband pledged to intervene to give Londoners priority over foreign buyers in the housing market in the event of a Labour general election victory. He said it is "scandalous" that entire blocks of houses are unoccupied while 180,000 people remain on the social housing list.The Bank of England deputy governor of monetary policy Charlie Bean said the bank's stability board is "keeping a beady eye" on the UK property market.He added that the board is aware of the risks associated with rises in house prices and an expansion in mortgage lending and is monitoring the housing market accordingly.Mr Bean said there are signs the recovery may be beginning to balance, even though it has until recently been driven by household consumption and housing market activity. 

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