Sadiq Khan is certainly living up to expectations.
Today, London’s mayor slammed his predecessor Boris Johnson’s “frankly embarrassing attempt” at delivering affordable homes in the capital.
He said Mr Johnson had “left the cupboard bare on housing”, adding that it would be a “hard and long process to fix his mess”.
Listed among Mr Johnson’s “failures” was the decision to give planning permission to schemes comprising as little as 13 per cent affordable housing, Mr Khan said.
Minutes later, the mayor’s office issued another statement, announcing that Mr Khan had refused to approve a scheme because it included no affordable housing and would encroach on green belt land.
He pledged to use his “full range of planning powers” to protect green spaces and deliver affordable homes.
But for those of you worried about what this could mean for getting schemes through the system, fear not: Mr Khan was adamant that he wanted “to work with developers to build the homes London so desperately needs”.
The new mayor believes that by working with boroughs, developers and housing associations together, he has a better chance of delivering the 50,000 homes a year the capital requires.
And that appears to be a pretty consistent message running through Mr Khan’s team.
Earlier this week I spoke to deputy housing mayor James Murray, who said he was keen to engage with constractors as much as possible.
He said the GLA was currently reviewing its London Development Panel, which includes major contractors such as Bouygues, Carillion and Wates. He wants to increase the amount of contractors building homes in London, specifically SMEs.
Despite this positivity, there is still a fair amount of scepticism in the industry, with questions remaining about how we will plug the impending capacity gap in the not-to-distant future.
One answer to this is offsite manufacturing and we’re seeing some encouraging movement here, with the likes of Legal & General recently investing in the sector.
But for some this still isn’t enough. One housing expert said to me last night that L&G was “all talk and no action”.
He argued that the insurance giant was still taking baby steps in the grand scheme of things and could do far more to be a genuine “market disruptor”.
And all of this comes against the backdrop of Thursday’s vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
What impact would a vote to leave the EU have on the UK’s ability to deliver thousands of homes at speed?
How would a vote to leave the EU impact your business? Construction News will explore this and more as soon as the votes start flooding in from Thursday evening onwards.
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