Jun 29, 2012 11:02 BST The Government has been rethinking its approach to decentralising planning fees and an announcement is expected soon.
Boris’ Housing PoliciesJun 06, 2012 13:41 BST
With Boris Johnson’s re-election last month Conservative Consultant Edward Butler-Ellis examines the implications of his proposed house building policies.
The re-election of Boris Johnson to the most prestigious political job outside of Parliament saw a raft of policy proposals focusing on the bread and butter issues of crime, housing and transport.
The arguments over affordable housing is one that resonates across the country and causes local politicians a great deal of frustration, never an easy decision when so many people have such different views on the matter – something of a poisoned chalice for any politician.
Despite the public perception over past Tory housing policy, historically, Conservatives have delivered vast numbers of homes and Council estates since the 1950’s. However, Boris’s record on housing delivery and future planning has caused a degree of confusion, certainly in the left-wing press who are taking every opportunity to attack his promise of providing 55,000 affordable homes by 2015. The issue seems not to be solely the volume of housing provided, but the also the problems with the cost of rent.
Attempts by the left to put pressure on the Mayor to introduce rent controls seem short-sighted and near impossible to establish. How could something like this ever be managed properly? The left seem to view City Hall as some sort of lettings agency, where City Hall acts as a broker, negotiating and arranging tenancy contracts. Whilst these may be plausible objectives, the mechanics would be a long way from being determined and may undermine further investment in the capital.
Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity has called on the Mayor to be more ambitious in his plans for affordable housing. They would like to see Boris build in excess of 33,000 new homes each year, calling on the government and private investors to stump up the cash, however, he seems to be dragging his feet on the matter and this is leading to uncertainties over his strategy to deal with the ever growing housing crisis.
If Mayor Johnson wants to build hope, he will need to start providing Londoners with some concrete plans for the delivery of homes, otherwise, he will only find himself subject to further criticism and castigation from his opponents.
Boris has a great opportunity to shape London and deliver the largest programme of housing seen in history. However, if he remains idle and watches demand continue to outstrip supply, he could find himself presiding over the biggest housing crisis in recent history.