As the race towards City Hall gathers momentum, Zac Goldsmith MP, Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, released his housing manifesto on 23.03.2016.
If elected, the tory hopeful has pledged that over the next 4 years he will work to fix London’s housing crisis by doubling homebuilding to 50,000 a year by 2020. As well as hiring additional ‘flying planners’ to oversee this growth and provide support to local councils with the aim of speeding developments, Goldsmith has said that he would appoint ‘chief architects’ to drive up the quality of housebuilding by holding developers accountable to local communities.
These architects would conduct community consultation with the aim of ensuring that developments are in keeping with the aesthetic of their local area. Mr Goldsmith also states that he would issue new planning guidance within six weeks of taking office to giving the ‘maximum possible weight’ to ‘genuine community consultation.’
After dismissing his competitor’s ambitious plan for half of all new homes built by private developers to be ‘genuinely affordable’ as a ‘fantasy target’ which would be impossible to deliver, Mr Goldsmith instead outlined that a significant proportion of newly build homes would be made available for rent only. Homes built on TFL land would initially be offered for sale to people who have lived and worked in the city for at least three years – one assumes that this measure will be taken to prevent investors from acquiring properties en-masse. These measures will surely be welcomed by the high numbers of London residents who struggle to compete with investors and those seeking to purchase second homes in the capital.
Goldsmith’s manifesto also outlines how he intends improve the capacity and reliability of London’s transport system. This would involve guaranteeing the proposed ‘Night Tube’, starting Crossrail 2, expanding the existing rail network and protecting the freedom pass. Suburban rail services would also be brought under the control of the Mayor.
The manifesto goes on to discuss how Goldsmith would seek to improve London’s living environment by protecting the green belt from development, creating more green spaces and improving local parks, and introducing tougher rules for HGV in order to tackle air pollution. In addition to this, if he were to win the election, Goldsmith has pledged that he would make London’s streets safer by tackling the ‘root causes’ of crime and increasing the street presence of neighbourhood police teams, particularly on public transport at night.
You can read more about Zac Goldsmith’s plans and download his housing manifesto here: https://bit.ly/1MEuQUX